We adore You, O Christ, and we bless, You, because by Your holy cross you have redeemed the world.
A great number of people followed Him, including women who kept mourning and wailing for Him. But Jesus turned to them and said, “Daughters of Jerusalem, do not weep for Me, but weep for yourselves and for your children. Look, the days are coming when people will say, ‘Blessed are the barren women, the wombs that never bore, and breasts that never nursed.’ At that time,‘They will say to the mountains, “Fall on us,” and to the hills, “Cover us.” For if men do these things while the tree is green, what will happen when it is dry?”
What consolation is this?
Why would anyone refer to this station as “Jesus Consoles the Women of Jerusalem?”
It sounds like something out of a nightmare. Here is a Man, beaten to the point of death, bleeding out, his head covered in a cap of inch-long thorns, dragging a cross out to his own lynching. You’re so terrified, you start to cry, and then he turns to you.
“Do not weep for Me, but weep for yourselves and for your children.”
At that point, you’d expect to wake up screaming, but you don’t, because it’s real. And they drag the Man away and kill Him, leaving you to wonder what he meant.
“Do not weep for Me, but weep for yourselves and for your children. Look, the days are coming when people will say, ‘Blessed are the barren women, the wombs that never bore, and breasts that never nursed.’”
Those days are already here, aren’t they?
To be a mother is dreadful. Not dreadful as in very bad, but dreadful as in something that fills you with dread. The baby comes to you in an agony of blood and pain; then your heart is torn open with impossible love, and you know you’d do anything to make them safe and well. You have to make them safe and well. Your whole body and soul are irrevocably changed and you must, whatever the consequences, make your child safe and well.
But you can’t.
No mother can make her child safe and well. We live in a fallen world, in an accursed time where mothers cannot make their children safe or well. We live in a world where mothers must take their children and hide in the basement from bombings; where children are afraid to go to sleep, because night is when the explosions begin. Mothers take their children and fly to the border for safety, but they find no solace, only a prison. Mothers take their children onto rafts to flee for their lives, and the children drown. Children are taken away and raped, jailed, tortured, forced into combat, sold into slavery. Children starve to death.
And this horror comes to every mother. No matter how rich or safe or healthy you are, the day will come when your children suffer and you can’t make it stop. Not even a perfect mother can make it stop.
Someday, your child will die, and you won’t be able to make it stop. I’m trembling with dread as I type these words right now, but I know it’s true. Death comes to every human being, and I can’t make it stop. Not if I hid in the depest recesses of the earth– not even if I said to the mountains, “fall on us,” and to the hills, “cover us.” No mother can make it stop.
Not even the Mother of God could make it stop.
When the wood was green, Herod sent his soldiers to massacre the children of Bethlehem; the Mother of God took her Son and fled into Egypt. Now that the wood is dry, her Child stumbles under its weight, all the way to Calvary, and no one can make it stop.
Now it is the Son of God who is bleeding and in agony. He has watched His beloved sons and daughters suffer and die from the beginning of time, and He will watch them until suffering and death are no more. Today, He is in labor with the New Creation. His heart will be torn open, to make His children safe and well.
Perhaps that’s the consolation– the terrible, dreadful consolation to the women of Jerusalem.
The Son of God knows what it is to be a mother.
(image via Wikimedia Commons)
Steel Magnificat will be meditating on the Way of the Cross on Wednesdays and Fridays throughout Lent. All Stations are linked in this post.