J.M.J. “Near the cross stood His Mother . . . .”
Mary, the faithful Virgin, was close to her beloved Son, Jesus on
Calvary. She accompanied Him to His painful death and
participated in His Redemption of the human race.
We recall the Madonna’s eager willingness to suffer with Christ. This heroic surrender helped to effect our much-needed reconciliation with the Godhead. Because of the transgression of our first parents, Adam and Eve, we were at enmity with God. Thanks to what the obedient Messiah and His humble Mother did on
humanity enjoyed the long-anticipated possibility of a release from that awful
sin which drove a large wedge between itself and its benevolent Creator.
When we receive the Sacrament of Baptism, the Redemption wrought by Jesus blossoms in our souls. Baptism brings about the remission of Original Sin, the bestowal of Sanctifying Grace and our incorporation into the Mystical Body of Christ, not to mention—among other salutary results—the infusion of the three theological virtues (Faith, Hope and Charity) the seven Gifts of the Holy Spirit (Wisdom, Understanding, Counsel, Fortitude, Knowledge, Piety and Fear of the Lord), and the four Cardinal Virtues (Prudence, Justice, Fortitude and Temperance).
There would be no graces of Baptism if Jesus hadn’t freely died for us on the cross. The Father deigned that we would return to His friendship by way of the Precious Blood-stained wood of the cross and the selfless offering of Jesus by His Sorrowful Mother.
The huge and significant part that Our Lady played in our redemption is, sadly, often forgotten. The Mother who generously accepted Him into her chaste womb at the Annunciation now on
Calvary consented to
His death. Both the Annunciation and the death of Christ demanded a prompt
“yes” (fiat) from the sinless Maiden of Nazareth. And in both instances she
splendidly fulfilled the Almighty’s command.
The Ever-Virgin’s entire existence—from her Immaculate Conception through her glorification in Heaven—was nothing but one unbroken “Let it be as you say” to the Lord. She never denied Him any request but continually embraced His mysterious plan for her as well as His designs for all his sons and daughters.
Mary’s availability to the Lord was remarkable. In one of his Sermons, Saint Bernard of Clairvaux (1090-1153) hailed Our Sorrowful Mother and addressed her thus: “Thus the violence of sorrow has cut through your Heart, and we rightly call you more than martyr, since the effect of compassion in you has gone beyond the endurance of physical suffering.”
Saint Bernard cautioned his listeners: “Do not be surprised, brothers, that Mary is said to be a martyr in spirit. Let him be surprised who does not remember the words of Paul, that one of the greatest crimes of the Gentiles was that they were without love. That was far from the Heart of Mary; let it be far from her servants.”
Steeped in charity, Our Lady cooperated with Jesus as He opened the gates of Heaven for us by dying on the cross and rising from the grave. Let us not disdain the invitation of the Son and His Mother that—in God’s good time—we join them for all eternity in
Our Lady of Sorrows, pray for us!