Day 7 – Jesus is Pierced with a Lance and Lowered from the Cross into Mary’s Arms

Day 7 – Jesus is Pierced with a Lance and Lowered from the Cross into Mary’s Arms

“Through his suffering, my servant shall justify many, and their guilt he shall bear.” Is 53:11

We cannot eliminate suffering in this life, but we can find meaning in it when we encounter Jesus Christ. Through that encounter with God who is love, we accompany and are accompanied, authentic joy fills our hearts, and even death itself becomes the doorway to life. Our ultimate bliss is not in this world, but in the life to come. These spiritual truths are what we discover in the sixth sorrow of the Blessed Virgin Mary, as she stands at the foot of the Cross and sees her son dead, now pierced with a lance and lowered from the cross into her arms.

Pierced, out of love for us. As Mary stands with her tear-streaked face upturned to her Son on the Cross, the full weight of her Son’s life trajectory hits her. He had foretold this. The prophets had foretold this. Mary knew the scriptures, all the prophecies. Jesus had said, “When I am lifted up from the earth, then I will draw all people to myself” (John 12:32). The barbarous cruelty of this Cross was shameful and revolting; his friends had abandoned him, the Jewish leaders repudiated him, and the guards scorned him. How was he drawing people to himself? Yet there was something more in that prophecy. Something that Mary was still formulating in her heart, intuiting that more was yet to come. Yes, we naturally shy away from suffering, yet we are also drawn toward love, and no greater love has any man than to lay down his life for a friend (cf. John 15:13). Was this what Jesus was doing? Showing us a love so great that none could remain indifferent? Giving us a trophy of the triumph of love over evil and hatred?

As darkness blots out the beauty of the years spent with Jesus, Mary is tempted to despair and unbounded grief compounded by a sense of abandonment and fear of an uncertain future.  Holiness does not mean that we never experience temptation. Holiness does not mean that we are not human or that we don’t feel and experience passions in our own heart. Holiness means to transform the sorrow, the passions, the darkness—through faith in God—into light. It’s Mary’s internal attitudes that bring God’s light into the dark places, overcoming the temptations.

Mary accompanies her Son even in death.  A love as strong as death, said Solomon (cf. Songs 8:6). To accompany those that we love, even in death, is an act of love. It is something that soothes the heart and is part of the grieving process. Mary teaches us not to turn away our faces from death but to open our hearts to the deeper reality that God wants to teach us through death. This is what will burst forth from the Resurrection of Christ. Death is not the end. Death does not have the final say, because her Son will triumph over death. In that moment, as she holds her Son, she feels all the darkness. But even then, in accompanying her son, she is beginning to look forward to the power of his Resurrection.

Questions to Ponder:

What are some instances where I have recognized signs of hope, conversion, and rebirth even in dark situations?

Do I base it on merely a cheerful disposition, or on a profound faith, hope, and love that come from prayer and communion with Jesus Christ?


Virgin Mary, Mother of Sorrows, you experienced the very depths of human sorrow. You watched rough soldiers not only killing your Son, but desecrating his lifeless body with the blow of a lance through the heart.  Though He could not feel that, you did. As you held his bloodied corpse in your arms, you resisted temptations to despair and unbounded grief. You latched onto hope in his promises, stirred up gratitude for his life and remembrance of the good he left behind. You recognized the redemptive power of his sacrifice for our sins. Without the night, we’d never see the beauty of the stars. Mary, help me to see like that! Mary, help me to love like that! Show me how to trust, to hope, to forgive! Do not let my heart drown in sorrow, but lead me always to a deeper faith in your Son, Jesus Christ.

Hail Mary full of grace …

Jesus, I trust in you!

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