View all Novenas | September 11, 2022
Day 6 – Jesus Dies on the Cross
Day 6 – Jesus Dies on the Cross
“So you also are now in anguish. But I will see you again, and your hearts will rejoice, and no one will take your joy away from you.” John 16:22
The last four sorrows of Mary surrounding the passion and death of her Son draw us deeply into the mystery of encounter and accompaniment. Mary recognizes that she cannot change all the circumstances and save her Son, but she can do something. She can accompany him. The Blessed Virgin Mary encountered her Son Jesus Christ more deeply than any other human being and so, more than anyone else she was able to accompany him in life and death. She knows him as only a mother can know her son. Every quirk, every thought, every motivation. At the foot of the Cross, she draws other women who have experienced the life-transforming love of her Son into this ministry of accompaniment.
Mary looks on the scene. There’s really nothing she can say, nothing she can do. She sees his humiliation, stripped of his clothing and his human dignity, no longer preaching and powerful, but suffering, dying. She resists the temptation to despair, to let the hope in God’s promises die in her heart as she sees the Messiah expiring on the Cross.
Mary endures a difficult exchange at the foot of the Cross. Jesus said to her, “Behold your son” (John 19:26). She trades her perfect son, the son of God, for John. This John who, like us, was a sinner, a “son of thunder” (Mark 3:17), imperfect in so many ways. And in that exchange, Mary also acquires us. We come with our complaints, our whining, our imperfections. But she loves us, accompanies us, and excels at lifting us up to holiness in her Son.
Suffering prepared her heart to embrace all of us in our imperfections and misery. Mary sorrows. Yet her sorrow is not self-pity. She channels the sorrow into accompaniment of her Son, and by the will of Jesus her accompaniment has become accompaniment of us all. She has become the mother of all Christians, of all who suffer. She knows the depths of sorrow and she knows how to be with us, how to console us, to unite our suffering to her Son, to make sense of our tribulations. She is our mother and the model for the whole Church, and she shows us how to suffer in faith and charity, with hope.
We cannot fix all the problems in our world, but we can accompany others in their sorrows. The suffering of a mother in seeing her dying child is the greatest of sorrows. Yet even here, in this deepest distress, we learn that death can become life, darkness turns into light, and sorrow can be transformed into joy.
Questions to Ponder:
In what ways do I accompany others and console them in their sorrows?
Have I embraced the Blessed Virgin Mary as my mother? How could I ask her for the help I need to follow Jesus and be his disciple?
Dear Blessed Mother, there is no sorrow like your sorrow, looking upon your son Jesus as he dies. Move me beyond curiosity; shake me out of my dull indifference. Help me to recognize the depth of Jesus’s love for me, shown in every blow of the whip, in each bloody footstep, at every fall of the hammer driving in the nails, as he is lifted up, at each tortuous breath, in every word he utters in those last moments. Mary, move my heart! Let it beat in unison with your Immaculate Heart! Let it be pierced with His Sacred Heart! Let me love as you love, let me love what you love!
Hail Mary full of grace…
Jesus, I trust in you!