Today is Good Friday.....Good because Christ is all goodness and love! As we contemplate the scenes of the Passion of Our Savior, let us look to the example of Mary who played an important role in this great drama of our Salvation. I once read a book entitled: "The Ascent to Calvary" written by Pere Louis Perroy in french and later translated into english. There was an inspiring chapter on the Sorrowful Mother that I have used often in meditation. Here is a summary.
Behold your Mother!
We cherish memories of our friends and memories of our mothers but a mother's memory in all that relates to her child is more tenacious. It reaches back to the child's first days and only to the mother as she looks upon her child grown to adulthood, can she fix her gaze upon the babe she once held in her arms. She remembers the joys and sorrows of each particular insident in her child's life. And too often, mothers would like to keep their children always in their arms, always dependent upon their loving care.
I would like to imagine that Mary had these same sentiments. On this fateful day, as She follows her Son to His death, a death that She knew had to come about for each one of us, She could still see the Child of Bethlehem and Nazareth, recalling in her memory those blessed days of intimacy. Indeed, in our own lives when faced with hours of trial and grief, the sorrow is more intense when we remember lost happiness.
But Mary kept all these words, pondering them in her heart. (Luke 2:19).
The Child grew in grace and years; Mary remembered the first words of those lips that on Calvary were smeared with blood, she recalled with what sweetness they had formed the name of Mary! Now She is hearing the prayer of forgiveness: "Father, forgive them for they know not what they do." Exile ceases to be exile when the soul possesses Jesus. Even now, watching Jesus suffer and die, Mary knew that in possession of His love, all things would be made new! When He was a Child, she had kissed and fondled Him; a few years later, He had become her inspiration. She would listen to His words and follow His works. She had truly chosen the better part.
She knew that His great mission absorbed the Messiah. She knew that He had come to do the will of His Father, and She was called to follow. Even in His earliest years, the Mother discerned the shadow of the cross. And today, the scriptures tell us that She stood in the shadow of that cross, not as in a vision but as a hard reality!
Jesus' last will and testment to His followers on Calvary was to entrust us to the loving care of His Mother. "Woman, behold your son, son behold your Mother." And in this action, Mary embrased us and all the sorrow that was hers on Calvary. To cling to the cross that crushes us is to be bathed in the blood of Jesus. To stand valiant under the blows of suffering is to be like the Mother of Sorrows, who willingly gave her Son for our redemption.
Pope Benedict has reminded us in an address on the Annunciation: "In this Lenten Season we often contemplate Our Lady, who on Calvary sealed the "yes" she pronounced at Nazareth. United to Christ, Witness of the Father's love, Mary lived martyrdom of the soul. Let us call on her intercession with confidence, so that the Church, faithful to her mission, may offer to the whole world a courageous witness of God's love."
May the gifts of repentance and a heart filled with forgiveness be your grace on this Good Friday!