Today the liturgy drops us from the heights of yesterday’s victory feast—the Exaltation of the Holy Cross—to the foot of that Cross where we mourn with Our Lady of Sorrows.
It is a long step down.
Mary, if you think about it, did not have on that terrible day, the advantage of hindsight that allows us to exalt the Cross. She stood at Golgotha, wrapped in the darkness that engulfed her son. Any parent who has knelt by the bed of a sick or dying child has a small window into her pain, into that ache and suffering that goes hand-in-hand with love.
“Woman, behold your son” – the dying man’s last words to his sorrowing mother. Take your eyes off me for a moment, he says. Look on the one who I love, for whom I hang on this cross. Then to that disciple: “Behold, your mother.”
“Behold … behold.” Look. Their eyes now on each other, united in an ocean of love and pain.
When we go to the foot of the Cross today, bearing our suffering, we do so with the hindsight that reveals the Cross to be exalted. We know the tomb is empty, that through the Cross, Christ triumphed over sin and death. Yet moving forward is hard. We need to bring that hindsight into our foresight to bear the crosses that are ours to bear.
Thanks be to God, we are not alone.
Take a minute to meditate on the crucifixion as recorded in John 19:17-30. Enter into the scene. Take the place of the Beloved Disciple and stand with Mary at the Cross. Now listen to Jesus, putting your name in the blanks:
“Woman, behold, __________.”
“_________, behold, your mother.”
Look into Mary’s eyes, where pain has dissolved in glory. She who has gone before us is also here for us. She is our loving advocate, Mother, source of comfort and strength – a gift to us from her Son.
O sweet Mother! Font of love, Touch my spirit from above, Make my heart with yours accord.
Make me feel as you have felt, Make my soul to glow and melt With the love of Christ, my Lord
–from the hymn, Stabat Mater
Our Lady of Sorrows, pray for us today that we will have strength to carry our crosses to the foot of his Cross, and continue in the love of your Son.