As Jesus walks the Via Dolorosa, among the procession of people, He sees His beloved Mother who is accompanied by John and some holy women of Jerusalem. He gazes at his sorrowful Mother who is humble, silent, resigned and valiant as always. His suffering is mirrored back to Him in the perfect anguish of her maternal heart. We can perceive the lamentation of the Lord as he communicates to His sorrowful Mother.
Jesus speaks to Mary in the silent gaze of love on the way of the cross:
My beloved Mother, My enemies deride Me, but they will not disrespect you. Even amidst this bloodthirsty crowd you are esteemed, as you should be. No one will lay a hand on you, Mother of the Condemned One! No one will speak an unkind word to you, Mother of the Messiah! They will not cease their cruelty against Me until I breathe my last. Death by crucifixion is their only aim: it is a sport to them.
The devils are unleashed to enter into this crowd to carry out the most tortuous execution possible. But the devils dare not to approach you, Mother of the Redeemer. The Father will not permit it. Legions flee from your presence for you are altogether too much for the fallen angels. Any number of these people will do their evil bidding but not you!
Mother, I know that you ardently desire to share in my physical pain. It is enough that you share in all the pain of my soul. Your sorrow is complete for I see the mystical swords that pierce your Immaculate Heart. Our two hearts are beating in the synchronized rhythm of love that we have always shared. I am bone of your bone and flesh of your flesh. Our hearts are inseparable.
This maddening crowd stares at you. They see you: “There is His Mother!” But no one dares to come against you. While they have no sympathy for Me, you elicit sympathy from them. Your tender maternal heart is pierced as Simeon prophesied so that the thoughts of many will be revealed. I am a sign of contradiction that they seek to annihilate but you are a mother of love touching their hearts in a mysterious maternal manner.
Mother, your tears are sanctifying the earth. They fall like My blood and sweat to purify the earth’s children. Mother, your Son’s hour is now. We talked about this. We prepared one another for this hour. My enemies think it is their hour. But you and I know the truth: this is hour of the redemption of the world.
Mother, your noble heart is thoroughly anguished yet rapt in love. My pure, gentle mother, your love always tends upward. You could no more wish ill upon my persecutors than I could! Your suffering is complete because of the affection you have for these people. You know that I love them and so do you. Love bears all things with equanimity. You are the flower of divine mercy and your fragrance of holiness is like heaven’s incense soothing my laboring lungs.
Your loving eyes speak volumes to me. You are always full of heaven’s grace, my selfless Mother. Valiant Lady, thank you for accompanying me along the Via Dolorosa. My friends have fled in fear but you remain near me always. Take courage, as I must complete the mission now. That My suffering is complete, I shall not receive the consolation of your loving gaze again until this Body is raised. Let Me look at your lovely face one last time before it is finished. Your countenance is sorrowful but noble for you are more radiantly beautiful than ever. My Queen, your heart is well prepared for the piercing swords of bitter sorrow that take hold of us in this hour. Most holy Mother, I die for you also. My will is fixed. Mother, fiat!
During Lent, we can spiritually accompany our Lord and Savior along the way of the cross. As we fix our eyes on His complete and perfect sacrifice, He looks back at us in a gaze that communicates His infinite, personal love for us. We may think that we are consoling Him (it is good that we try to do so), but in truth He is consoling us. Saint Luke tells us, “But Jesus turning to them said, “Daughters of Jerusalem, do not weep for me, but weep for yourselves and for your children (Luke 22:28).” These are the only recorded spoken words of the Lord along the way of the cross. They are an invitation to travailing, intercessory prayer. Our Lenten tears and sacrifices are not for the Lord, but for ourselves; that we may rediscover the joy of loving Him.
The grace of Lent is an opportunity to experience the personal and corporate weight of sin. Oh, that we may weep! Oh, that our tears of love will help purify the earth! During Lent may our tears join Mary’s tears on the Via Dolorosa to join Christ’s perfect sacrifice of love! When He sees us accompanying Him on the way of the cross, certainly He will speak the words we long to hear.
Editor’s Note: This reflection is adapted from Kathleen Beckman’s book, Behold the Lamb of God: Reflections Based on Liturgical Seasons. www.kathleenbeckman.com