Year-to-year, on Good Friday, I am humbled by the love God has for us to sacrifice his son. On Holy Thursday, I weep at the loneliness and pain that Christ must have felt in that moment, when his disciples couldn’t stay awake with him and he knew the cup couldn’t and wouldn’t pass from him. I am sorrowful, thankful, and awestruck by this.
This year surprised me and has me reflecting not only on Jesus, but also on his mother. Last night at church, for obvious reasons, I couldn’t help but to reflect on the faith and suffering of this woman. I can’t comprehend the pain she experienced. Regardless of your stance on Mary, I imagine that any parent and any person who cares for and loves someone can relate to the nature of this woman’s love for her son.
I look at my babies, my two perfect little gifts from God, and I imagine being a witness to the world’s scorn and condemnation of either of them. If Christians think that a poor virgin carrying a child that she couldn’t explain was brave, imagine that child that you love and have poured your heart and soul into being tried and crucified as a criminal. And she didn’t know why it was happening, except that it had to happen.
I don’t worship Mary, contrary to beliefs of some outside of Catholicism. I don’t hold her higher than or equal to Christ, as misconception leads some to think. But she is an integral part of his life, of this story. Any mother that bears and raises a child can account for that. Any mother that has changed diapers, wiped tears, sacrificed her desires (and sleep) for her child knows this to be true. She said yes, and carried him. She said yes, and raised him. She said yes, and held back and wept as her baby was crucified. Any parent knows the love that she had for this child. Any mother that has lost a child, at any stage of life, knows the grief she must have experienced. For this I don’t worship her, but for this I do ask her for strength in my hard times. She is the servant that let His will be done, and by doing so gave us the most intimate, physical connection with God. For this I revere her. This is an active love for me, not above my relationship with Christ, but greatly enhancing it on a daily basis.
Today’s story is a love story. Today’s sorrow has a happy ending. Today’s pains and grief result in the greatest gift mankind has ever received. But on that day on Calvary, Mary only knew of one thing, that her beloved little boy was being murdered as a crowd watched.
Not just for me, and not just for you. The grief she experienced was for each and every single person we encounter, just as the pain Christ felt was non-discriminate.
Becoming a parent can serve as an eye-opening reminder of the love and sacrifice our parents gave – or were unable to give – each of us. Today I look beyond the great love my parents have for me, and appreciate the models of parenting displayed to us through both God the Father and Mary. It’s so easy to forget or not realize but, for me, not today.
Easter blessings to you and yours.