Wednesday, May 9, 2007

The Death of Jesus

"There stood by the cross of Jesus his Mother" (Jn 19:25)
Mary was indeed a martyr - one condemned to watch her innocent child be murdered, slowly and in great agony.
In the above biblical quote, John did not deem it necessary to say more on Mary's martyrdom. We can see her at the foot of Jesus' cross. Let us stay with her for awhile and consider this fifth sword of sorrow which pierced our Blessed Mother's heart.
After reaching Calvary, Jesus was stripped of all his clothing. His hands and feet were impaled with blunt nails. They raised his cross and placed it in a hole, then left him to die. The soldiers left him, but Mary did not...she then walked right up and remained close to her son. As she herself revealed to St. Bridget: "I did not leave him, but stood nearer the cross."
St. Bonaventure comments on the scene: "What good did it do you to go to Calvary and see your son expire? Shame should have prevented you from going, for his digrace was your disgrace since you were his mother. And if not shame, at least horror of witnessing such a crime as the crucifixion of a God by his own creatures. But your heart had no regard for its own sorrows, but only for the sufferings and death of your loved one. And so you wished to be present to suffer along with him." No, not even the fear of death itself, nor shame would keep Mary from her Divine Son.
What a spectacle of sorrow was beheld by those on Calvary that day. Jesus suffering untold of agony with his tearful mother standing close by. Mary recounts this to St. Bridget of Sweden: "My Jesus was breathless, tormented, and in the last stages of exhaustion on the cross. His eyes were sunk, half-closed, and lifeless. His lips were swollen and his mouth hung open. His cheeks were hollow and drawn in. His face was gaunt, his nose sharp, his countenance sad. His head had fallen on his breast, his hair was matted and gory, his stomach collapsed, his legs and arms stiff, and his whole body covered with wounds and blood."
All of these sufferings of Jesus were also the sufferings of Mary, his holy and Immaculate Mother. The next time you meditate on the Sorrowful Mysteries of the Rosary, give special attention to Our Lady, bent with pain and unspeakable sorrow at the foot of the cross. Whisper to her your gratitude for her offering of pain on your behalf. Compassionate her sorrows and she will shower you with graces in return!
O most sorrowful of all mother, your son is now dead - that son so loving, who loved you so much! Weep, for you have reason to weep. Who can ever bring you any consolation? Only this thought can console you: that, by his death, Jesus conquered hell, opened heaven, and gained so many souls. From the throne of the cross, he will reign in millions of hearts. Conquered by his love they will serve him with love.
(Source: Glories of Mary by St. Alphonsus de Ligouri)

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