In our onging Lent reflection series on the Stations of the Cross, let’s look at when Jesus meets his mother
There has always been a current of thought that questions the intensity of devotion to the Blessed Mother. Why should we spend so much time on Mary when it is to God Himself through His Son that we should devoting all our time? This is especially true outside of the Roman and Orthodox Catholic Churches – but even within them there is this current; why Mary? We can see back in the mid-20th century where in the northern hemisphere Catholics had lessened their attention to the Blessed Mother.
Why Mary? Well, one answer we can see in the fourth Station.
Jesus, on His via Dolorosa meets her and this interaction points us to the importance of her to our journey. In the midst of all the terrible atrocities thrown toward Jesus, here is His mother, unafraid as Veronica. But where Veronica is coming forward fearlessly to help someone who she pities, who is in need of compassion; Mary is coming forth with the strength and tenderness of a Mother’s love. Cardinal Comastri in his 2006 Way of the Cross meditations comments on her appearance:
“Every mother is love made visible, an abode of tender affection and undying fidelity; because, a true mother loves, even when she is not loved in return.
Mary is the Mother!
In her, womanhood is unalloyed and love is not poisoned by the waves of selfishness that constrict and smother human hearts.
Mary is the Mother!
Her heart faithfully accompanies the heart of her Son, shares in his sufferings, carries his cross, and herself feels the pain of every wound inflicted on the body of her Son.”
To this end, being a disciple of Christ, we all need to strive for this type of love. Our ability to offer disinterested love, love without expectations, agape, requires that we love as God has shown us; love especially when love is not returned.
As creatures it is, most of the time, hard for us to understand transcendental expectations; take what seems ethereal and cryptic to our sensibilities and experiences and put it in to practice. This is what Mary shows us. Who better to turn to, to learn what true love is about? Who better than she; who met her Son in His moment of extreme passion, pouring out her love amidst a ravening crowd and sharing with Him His very suffering? Who better to emulate than this little woman who felt every aspect of her Son’s suffering and still, in spite of the sword in her soul, walked with Him to His death, radiating compassionate love? Who better to learn from than Mary, who loved her Son’s disciples, even after they had abandoned Him at His time of Passion. Mary, mother of us all shows us the way to love, to Christ. As she looks into His eyes on the via dolorosa allowing all this love to take place know she looking into ours as well.