Picture: Dieric Bouts's Sorrowing Madonna
As I entered Mary’s story, the Mother of Jesus, and reflected upon her mother’s heart and considered how she must of felt watching her son be crucified, my own mother’s heart broke.
What mother could bear the pain and suffering of watching helplessly as people mocked, ridiculed, spit upon, and tortured their precious child?
Somehow, I thought Mary would have been spared some of the anguish most parents face. However, her anguish and body numbing pain, was the kind that cuts deep into the heart and soul. Mary’s story is one of incredible faith and trust, in the midst of immense mystery, rejection, humiliation, suffering, and sorrow.
Numerous times throughout Mary’s life journey she pondered and treasured within her heart all the events that took place.
The words spoken by the angel Gabriel concerning how she had found favour with God, that she was not to be afraid, she would give birth to a son, he would be great and would be called Son of the Most High. His kingdom would never end, and with God all things are possible.
When Jesus went missing and after his return, he said to her that he was doing his fathers business, her heart was broken, he had disappeared, and he was gone for days.
It was in this moment, the sword the old man Simeon had predicted started to prick her heart.
When Jesus left her home and entered his ministry she knew the long years of silence where coming to an end. Mary saw and heard how he was rejected by her own people.
She now had to relate to her child not just as an adult, but as “Immanuel” God with us. Her role as mother had now moved into a role as a disciple and follower of Christ.
At the wedding at Cana, Jesus asked the question, “Dear woman why do you involve me?” That must have hurt! Really, really hurt!
Another prick from the sword Simeon predicted.
When Mary went to look for him, he had asked the crowd, “Who is my mother, brothers and sisters?” What a crazy question to ask! Deeper the sword went leaving an invisible wound no one could see but a mother could totally feel.
Mary was at the cross, she did not leave. She stood silently as the sword cut her heart entirely. She stood there, lost in grief, with sorrow covering every part of her mind, body, and soul.
Then the words came from her son’s mouth, “It is finished.”
The sword went completely into her heart breaking her spirit totally.
Then she remembered Jesus speaking words from the cross that comforted her soul: “Dear woman, here is your son,” and to John he said, “Here is your mother.”
In these last words Jesus’ love for her covered all the wounds from the predicted invisible sword.
Jesus gift to his mother was to restore her role as mother in a new way. Feelings of rejection and humiliation were removed completely from her soul. Mary never gave up. She pushed through the rejection and pain and quietly followed her son. She knew within her mother’s heart Jesus was born for greatness.
She pondered and treasured within her heart Simeon’s words of praise, “My eyes have seen your salvation, which you have prepared in the sight of all people, a light for revelation to the Gentiles and for glory to your people Israel.”
This part of the journey was finished, but Mary knew this was just the beginning of a new God story and with him all things are possible.
Jesus’ kingdom will never end.
Scripture Passages for Reflection: Luke 1-2; John 2:1-11; Mark 3:31-35; John 19:27
Love to All,