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Photo: Simone Martini (1284–1344)
Consoling Jesus During His Passion
The Fourth Sorrowful Mystery: The Carrying of the Cross
By Fr. Jim McCormack, MIC (Dec 19, 2014)
Fourteenth of a 20-part series on the Mysteries of the Rosary. Next week: The Crucifixion and Death of Our Lord Jesus
As they led Him away they took hold of a certain Simon, a Cyrenian, who was coming in from the country; and after laying the cross on him, they made him carry it behind Jesus. A large crowd of people followed Jesus, including many women who mourned and lamented Him. — Luke 23:26-27
The hidden and beautiful first moment of the life of Our Lady, the Immaculate Conception, seems so different from the very public and brutal last moments of our Lord's life. But by God's providence, Christ's saving Passion and Death make possible the Immaculate Conception of Our Lady, and her Immaculate Conception makes possible our Lord's Passion. How does Mary make possible our Lord's Passion? One way is by consenting to become the Mother of God. Another way is through her consoling presence at, and participation in, our Lord's Way of the Cross.
Mary was there at the foot of Christ's cross (see Jn 20:25), accompanied by some women from Nazareth (see Mt 27:55). Additionally, tradition teaches us through the Stations of the Cross that Jesus met His mother on the way to His crucifixion.
So the Immaculate Conception was there, walking with our Lord. How it must have pained her heart to see her Son suffer! She was prepared by Simeon's words, which she had pondered for 33 years: "[A]nd a sword will pierce through your own soul also" (Lk 2:35).
What a consolation Mary must have been to our Lord as she walked with Him in His suffering! She was there to help carry Him emotionally and spiritually, as only a mother could. Just as she bore Him in her womb, so too she bore Him in her heart during His hour of trial.
In the mystery of the Immaculate Conception, our Lord breathed Mary's soul into her body and gave her supernatural — as well as natural — life at the moment of her conception. In the mystery of the Carrying of the Cross, our Lord draws ever closer to the moment when He will breathe forth His Spirit and give up His earthly life so that we may become spiritually "immaculate" — like Mary — and thus truly alive.
Our Lord in His mercy shares with us the Immaculate Conception: a loving Mother who walks with us and carries us in her heart as we bear our trials and crosses. The Founder of the Marians of the Immaculate Conception, Blessed Stanislaus Papczynski, chose for his motto, "May the Immaculate Conception of the Blessed Virgin Mary be for us a refuge and protection." She is a companion, a consolation, and a refuge for us on our personal Way of the Cross.
In addition, she is a font and model of pure love. Untainted by original sin and disordered desires, Mary loves perfectly, choosing God above all things and loving her neighbor as herself. But our hearts, unfortunately, are not so free. We find ourselves choosing lesser goods and priorities over God. Our Lord said to St. Margaret Mary Alocoque, "Behold this heart which loves so much and yet which is so little loved."
Nevertheless, in the person of Mary, the Heart of Jesus is loved very much! Apart from our Lord, only her human heart, immaculate and full of grace, can love in a rightly ordered way. We turn to our Mother that she may hold us in her heart, nurture us, and teach us, so that our hearts may love ever more like hers and thereby bring consolation to the aching Heart of our Lord in His Passion.
1. The Annunciation
2. The Visitation
3. The Nativity of Our Lord Jesus
4. The Presentation in the Temple
5. The Finding in the Temple
1. The Baptism of Jesus
2. The Wedding at Cana
3. The Proclamation of the Gospel
4. The Transfiguration
5. The Institution of the Eucharist
1. The Agony in the Garden
2. The Scourging at the Pillar
3. The Crowning with Thorns
4. The Carrying of the Cross
5. The Crucifixion and Death of Our Lord Jesus
1. The Resurrection
2. The Ascension
3. The Descent of the Holy Spirit
4. The Assumption
5. The Coronation