Like a mother whose child has been born with a terminal illness, Mary could never escape for long thoughts about her Son’s death. St. Alphonsus considers how these thoughts would have served as a continual stream of sorrow for her.
King David, in the midst of all his pleasures and regal grandeur, heard
from the prophet Nathan that his son would die: “The child that is born to you shall die” (2 Sam 12:14). The king could find no peace, but wept, fasted, and slept on the ground. Yet Mary, with the greatest calmness, received the announcement that her Son would die, and she always peacefully submitted to it. But what grief must she continually have suffered, seeing this lovable Son always near her, hear- ing from him words of eternal life, and witnessing his holy demeanor!
Abraham suffered much during the three days he spent with his beloved Isaac, after learning that he was to lose him. But Mary had to endure a similar sorrow, not for three days, but for thirty-three years! But did I say a similar sor- row? No—her suffering was as much greater than Abraham’s as her Son was lovelier than his.
The Blessed Virgin herself revealed to St. Bridget that, while she was on earth, there was not an hour in which this grief did not pierce her soul. Already knowing what her Son was to suffer, the afflicted mother “when nursing him, thought of the gall and vinegar; when swaddling him, of the cords that would bind him; when carrying him in her arms, of the cross to which he would be nailed; when sleeping, of his death.” As often as she dressed him, she considered how his clothes would one day be torn from him, so that he might be crucified. And when she saw his sacred hands and feet, she thought of the nails that would one day pierce them. Mary told St. Bridget, “Then my eyes filled with tears, and my heart was tortured with grief.” —St. Alphonsus Liguori, The Glories of Mary
What scenes and events in my life have the greatest power to provoke sadness in me? How might I bring those moments to Mary, knowing that she understands them well?
Blessed Mother, a cold wind must have blown through your soul when you saw the shadow of the Cross fall across the crib. Thank you for enduring such grief for my sake, and pray for me when shadows lengthen all around me.
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