Day 5 – Mary Meets Jesus on the Way to Calvary

Day 5 – Mary Meets Jesus on the Way to Calvary

“Whoever wishes to come after me must deny himself, take up his cross, and follow me.” Matthew 16:24

Mary is a true mother. She understands all our pain because she has experienced it first. She helps us to transition from sorrow to joy, because she has accomplished that first. And because she ponders all these things in her heart, what happens to her son, even on the Way of the Cross, does not steal her peace.

She sees her son suffering, rejected, and with no escape. He is disfigured, beaten, bloody, marring all the beautiful memories she had treasured in her heart. New brutal memories crowd out everything beautiful.

Every motherly instinct in Mary drives her to reach out to her son, to touch him, to protect him from more hurt, to embrace and console him.

Yet there is more at work here than a mother’s instinct: there is an important lesson of faith for every follower of Jesus in this fourth sorrow of Mary, as suffering son and sorrowing mother meet on the Way of the Cross. The Virgin Mary shows us that one of the secrets to taking up our cross and unlocking joy is in the encounter. If we focus on the suffering, we balk; if we focus on Jesus, we can do everything. Close to his heart, we can experience calm amid chaos, joy during suffering.

Mary learns through this sorrow that her Son is “making all things new” (Rev 21:5). She recognizes that he has embraced his Cross—literally—and that he has chosen this path of redemption, that he wants his Father’s will and our redemption more than he fears death or desires life. That is PASSION!  Mary glimpses something of the bigger picture: the silent lamb led to slaughter (cf. Is 53:7, Acts 8:32). The Lamb of God who takes away the sins of the world. A new Passover, a new covenant is on the horizon. All these things she perceives dimly, in the light of faith. By faith, we, too, can begin to see on the dark horizon of pain and suffering a hint of the Son-rise’s rays.

We love only to the degree that we are willing to suffer. Precisely because Mary encounters Love and her faith enables her to see beyond the present moment, her sorrow on the streets of Jerusalem teaches us a lesson as she learns it from her Son: embrace the cross.  What Mary found on the Way of the Cross is that an encounter with Jesus on the deepest level, the level that leads to the profoundest intimacy and union becomes the level where sorrow is transformed into joy.


Questions to Ponder:

When I face shame for His name, do I pretend not to know him or do I push through the crowds as Mary did, to accompany my Lord wherever He may go?

When I experience the burdens of family members or friends whose mistakes and messy lives seem to drag me down, do I turn to the Virgin Mary and to Jesus Christ for strength?



Dear Mother Mary, help me to walk alongside your Son as you did. Life is messy, and you did not find your consolation and joy in having everything work out according to your plans, but in embracing God’s plan. Deepen my trust in God the Father. Strengthen my awareness of Jesus by my side as I take up my cross each day to follow him. Inflame my heart with the Holy Spirit’s love, so that his gift of fortitude may make me strong in the face of every temptation to love less, to stop short, to bail out of difficult situations. Blessed Mother, teach me how to love better! Amen.

Hail Mary full of grace …

Jesus, I trust in you!

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