Thursday, April 05, 2007

Good Friday Vignette... Our Lady's Passion

During this Lenten Season, I've thought and pondered much about Our Blessed Mother's passion. Not being brought up Catholic, I feel somewhat "cheated" that in my Methodist faith, Mary was only mentioned on Christmas Eve and Christmas Day and in my favorite Christmas Carol, Silent Night. As a little girl, I didn't know what "Round yon Virgin" meant, but I knew it was Mary, Jesus' mother. How long a wait it was to finally come to understand and appreciate Her in my life. Now I have a Spiritual Mother...and I know she's been greatly instrumental in praying for us, and bringing us Home to Rome, and Holy Mother Church. Our first Mass in 26 years, was on December 8, 2004, and ever since I've come to love my Mother, the Mother Jesus gave me...the MOTHER OF THE CHURCH. Here are my reflections on this, Our Beloved Lady's passion. I hope that it moves you as it did me. And for all of those who think they don't need Mary, then they must stop and think about what they're really rejecting. For they're not just rejecting Mary, but Jesus, for by giving Mary to John, Jesus gave her to the Church, and if we are in the Church, then isn't it right that we would receive and honor Mary as did our Lord?

Our Lady's Passion

The sky grew dark… John saw Jesus’ mother, Mary, begin to tremble and he reached for her, thinking she would collapse with grief. But her strong faith kept her from falling as she stood at the foot of the cross. He held her near his heart, comforting her without words, for there were no words left in him. She clung to John's arm with what little strength remained in her grasp. Fatigued from the stress of this long day, her legs and knees felt weak, as if they could no longer hold her upright. John motioned for Mary Magdalene’s assistance and together they guided the Mother of our Lord to a nearby rock, where she could rest. Mary Magdalene remained near her side, and could only stare at the pierced and bleeding feet of her Lord. Those feet had brought words of love, forgiveness and truth to her -Truth that set her soul free from the bondage of her sin. Those feet she had kissed and bathed with her tears and dried with her hair, now were covered with blood. Her heart broke like that alabaster jar of precious perfume which she had poured onto the feet of her Lord with such relentless love. Her present grief poured out of her soul in a wail that she could not contain. She reached for Mary’s hand… the sky grew darker still.
Mary, so thankful for the love and devotion of this gentle daughter and dearest friend of Jesus, held her hand in return, as she wept and groaned for her dead Son. She wept, too, for those who, in their ignorance of His love…had crucified Him… the One who loved them so. She wept for those who had hanged Him to this gruesome tree, this cross on a hill called Golgotha. She wept for the vision that now filled her blurry eyes, burning with the sting of bitter tears. She wept for the people of all ages who refused His grace. She wept for babies who would never be born, because of 'the freedom of choice' in a world far into the future. Mary wept for the loss of innocence of children, the loss of families, and the loss of faith. She wept for wars that would continue as peoples' hearts grew steadily hard and cold and vengeful.
Mary clutched her breast and moaned, as a stabbing pain surged through her heart. The same pain she’d felt only hours before, on the bloody path leading to this hill of death. Then the immense pain had ripped through her heart and soul when she had met His deep, loving gaze - when it seemed He’d “held her in His eyes” as if to draw the last of His strength from beautiful memories they’d shared. On that path she’d watched Him staggering, carrying the heavy, rough-hewn beam across His left shoulder, which was now torn bare to the bone from its weight and large splinters. The piercing pain of this sword tore through her heart as she remembered Simeon’s prophecy, so many years ago in the Temple, when she had held Jesus in her arms on that most joyous of days. Tears dropped from her face onto the moist ground, now stained red with the purest of blood. The sky grew even darker...
Nicodemus and Joseph brought Jesus to Mary and laid Him across her lap. With aching arms she embraced his lifeless body. Her tears fell upon His hair. She touched His face with a trembling hand as she tenderly kissed His forehead - pierced and torn by thorns that had been wrapped into a “crown” and cruelly slammed onto His head. A “crown of thorns” fashioned as a final, mocking gesture of her Son, Jesus, the One and True King of Kings. But even in this darkest hour, she sensed and saw, in her mind's eye, a glimmer of light, which she could see faintly - far beyond the pain of this moment of blackness. She saw that this horror, this death so cruel, so bloody, was indeed... good. She saw that His death would bring life to countless millions, who would believe in Him and trust in His love, be revived by His mercy, and live in His grace. She saw those who would find the faith to endure to the end and persevere through trials and hardships yet unimaginable. She saw a glimpse of her Son, as if in a dream, dressed in glorious raiment, and she uttered through her sobs a "thank you" to her Lord, her God, her Savior, her Beloved Son, for allowing her to become the Mother to all of His children, since the world began.
For with her Mother's eyes, she would see her sons and daughters of every age and generation, call her blessed. She saw them run to her much like He had done, with His sorrows and joys as a boy and then as a grown man. He had come to her as a humble baby in her womb and had nursed at her breast. He had run to her when He fell and skinned His knee as a little boy and she had soothed Him with a tender smile and His favorite song, while she tended to His wound. He had found consolation in her arms on nights when sleep didn't come easily and He seemed "a million miles away." He'd found in her a home, a deep love, a trust, and a faith beyond all others, for she was Full of Grace. He had delighted in being with her all His life and had gathered the last of His courage when they had looked into each other's eyes for the last time. And another sob shook her to her core, as she and Mary Magdalene tended to His pale, limp body, preparing Him for burial.
Only moments ago, straining to speak in His last, labored, dying breath, He'd given his beloved Mother to John and John to her. She would go home with John and love him as she had loved Jesus. She would now tend to John's wounded heart, and comfort him with a love only a Mother's consolation could give. She would tell John of Jesus' love and tender mercy for years to come. Her red eyes - swollen, and overflowing once again with tears - looked at John as they lay Jesus in the tomb. John watched with most tender affection, as tears began to roll down her face, falling onto the burial cloth. As he beheld the Mother of his Lord, he thought his heart would break for love of her. He wrapped his arm around her as they left the tomb, speaking these three words softly and lovingly to the Mother of God: "Come home, Mother." Then with the devotion of a true son, he led her safely to his home, to honor and care for her until her time came to leave this earth.

© Susie Melkus 02.27.07

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It is my prayer this Easter, that we will all welcome Mary, the Mother of God, into our homes, and into our hearts, to care for her and honor her as did John. As we love the Mother Jesus gave us, we will grow in our love for Jesus, and come to know him more deeply, more intimately. For to love the mother of a friend, is to love that friend, very much. “ Totus Tuus” To Jesus, through Mary.


Tiber Jumper said...

So beautiful, so true.
How did we ignore the role Mary played in our salvation history?
Thanks for the post

Joyful Catholics said...

Thanks TJ! This really flowed from the depths of my heart of hearts. I LOVE my MOTHER, and Holy Mother Church!

My dear friend, Teresa Monaghen, read this last night at Pro Sanctity Retreat Center, and I was so blessed to hear it read by someone other than myself. I was honored to have her read it, and it moved a few hearts there as well.