Walking with Mary to the Cross Series-10

10 – Mary at the crucifixion of her beloved Son – Mary, our Sorrowful Mother

From noon on, darkness came over the whole land until three in the afternoon.  And about three o’clock Jesus cried with a loud voice, “Eli, Eli, lema sabachthani?” that is, “My God, my God, why have you forsaken me?” When some of the bystanders heard it, they said, “This man is calling for Elijah.” At once one of them ran and got a sponge, filled it with sour wine, put it on a stick, and gave it to him to drink. But the others said, “Wait, let us see whether Elijah will come to save him.” Then Jesus cried again with a loud voice and breathed his last. At that moment the curtain of the temple was torn in two, from top to bottom. The earth shook, and the rocks were split. The tombs also were opened, and many bodies of the saints who had fallen asleep were raised. After his resurrection they came out of the tombs and entered the holy city and appeared to many.  Now when the centurion and those with him, who were keeping watch over Jesus, saw the earthquake and what took place, they were terrified and said, “Truly this man was God’s Son!”

As I wind down to the last posts in this series, I struggle to not take away from the importance of events in Mary’s life with her son, nor repeat myself. I pause in my thoughts to be with her at the foot of the cross, witnessing, watching; with sorrow pulsing through her broken heart that was pierced so long ago, now coming fully to completion. She knew the truth – that he who knew no sin, innocent beyond a doubt; was taking on the sins of all mankind as he died on the cross. It is a lot for all of us to ponder this moment with great awe and gratitude.

My dad’s walk to death was one of speed – his fall in health began in October with a pacemaker, to not recovering well through November, to a confirmed stage 4 lung cancer at the end of January. We had less than a month before he would pass on February 22. He was the opposite of Mary – he kept fighting it and denying what was happening. He had fear – but I think it was more for us than for himself. He wasn’t ready. He still felt responsible to care for his family and yet could not change what was happening to his body. We had our Pastor over to speak with him but he didn’t know him well – mom and dad had just moved across country to live with us 6 months before all this.

Mary too might have had a little fear with jesus’ impending death – perhaps only though of the Romans, wondering just how far they would go to torture her son before they lifted him to hang and die. She wouldn’t have feared Jesus’ death because she knew it had to happen in a profound way. And I know in the hearts of many others who have watched the rapid death of a loved one, the loss of control and inability to change or fix them, creates an anxious fear that stabs their sorrowful hearts in a way a long illness doesn’t. Long illness before death begins a mourning process. Mary might have experienced this type of sorrow with Joseph. But with Jesus, things moved so quickly.

Holding her son like a baby once more as they brought him down from the cross, cuddling his long limbs that were bloodied and bruised, she could only image his glorious reunion in heaven with the Father. She would know that the fulfillment of prophesy had occurred and now she too had a role to play in salvation history as the mother of all disciples. Yet her heart – that sacred, immaculate heart, would miss this beautiful child of hers all the rest of her days. How could her sorrow and joy intersect? I can only imagine it was in the trust that God the Father placed in her heart way back at the Annunciation so that she could receive only peace and great faithfulness.

The night my dad died he kept trying to sit up in bed and get out of it. We knew he was trying to run but his body would only crumble if he left the bed. I remember so well telling him how it was alright to leave – that we would take care of mom and each other. His parents and sister would be waiting for him with Jesus and that he should take his hand and just go. He heard me – because when he gave in and fell back to the pillow, it was if he finally accepted what was before him and never fought again. It was his dads birthday and I talked about the grand party that would be held; he would be the special guest of honor. I pray it happened that way – I really have no doubt otherwise.

Mary would likely be saying things like that to John and Mary Magdalene as they brought Jesus’ body down from the cross. She would remind them of the things that he said would happen and not to lose hope or trust in the Father. We had to remind mom when she asked where dad was, that he was preparing a place for her but it wasn’t time yet to go. In her dementia, some days she could accept it, and you could almost see her thinking of how that would work. Like my mom, Mary too would reminisce of times before his ministry began; when it was just her, Joseph and Jesus and of the things they shared as a family. Missing them and grieving would very much be a part of her days – it is a normal human connection that is severed. Yet it remains in a supernatural way – in the spiritual realm because Mary knew Jesus was a part of her and in her immaculate heart he would remain.

Mary had to be strong – she had to accept the Father’s will for his son and for her own walk to the cross. My dad was a protector and provider – who if not him would love his wife they way he did? How would she survive? He worried about all us kids even though we were all grown and had our own families. His surrender came likely from Mary. He loved to pray the rosary and we would pray it together when no one else was around. He was always devoted to the church and loved his faith. He planted seeds in all of us and did his part to help us find and keep the faith.

Mary did this too with the Disciples – helping them to understand what surrendering to God’s will looked like. They would face great trials too, but her steadfastness would help them to persevere.

Mary’s fiat goes beyond the time she walked this earth – it has continued to be available to us as we walk our daily journey to the cross – offering up our sorrows, trials, limitation and weaknesses. She, the mother of sorrow, is there for us each and every day – hour- minute to call upon for help, strength and fortitude to do what the Father calls us to – and sometimes that is to lean into the pain and lift high our crosses.

It wasn’t easy for me to hold my dad and tell him to go. I knew, however, this was not his home, that heaven was and Jesus was calling him to it. I miss him terribly and wish I could bring time back to know him better. But I also know if I continue to lift my cross and walk in the way of the Lord, I will see him again. Mary will help me honor him by recalling the memories we shared. She will remind me to keep my eyes on heaven and that she will always show me the way.

Photos by: Carl Bloch, Public domain, via Wikimedia Commons. https://commons.wikimedia.org/wiki/File:Christ_at_the_Cross_-_Cristo_en_la_Cruz.jpg
Also By Author

About Cathy Trowbridge

A faith-led people-person, daughter, sister, mother, grandmother, great- grandmother and friend, I am a Catholic Christian striving to union with our Lord. I hope to bring you encouragement to live a closer relationship with Christ, discerning direction in the path to Him, with Him and in Him.
This entry was posted in My Posts and tagged , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , . Bookmark the permalink.

Leave a Reply

Fill in your details below or click an icon to log in:

WordPress.com Logo

You are commenting using your WordPress.com account. Log Out /  Change )

Facebook photo

You are commenting using your Facebook account. Log Out /  Change )

Connecting to %s