Mary walked with Christ on the Via Crucis all the way to Calvary where she remained, in union with His suffering, interceding for humanity with Him. The Undoer of Knots walks with us on our sorrowful way too. We have only to open the eyes of our hearts to her presence.
The traditional Way of the Cross devotion (Stations of the Cross) features the Blessed Virgin Mary at the 4th Station entitled, “Jesus Meets His Mother”. What a terrible and touching moment that must have been!
Are we to imaging that this meeting between Jesus and His mother was one brief instant after which Mary let Jesus walk on His own to Calvary? Or did she accompany Him the rest of the way? This question answers itself. As any mother would attest, it is impossible to imagine that Mary would have been absent during any part of her Son’s long and sorrowful way. The devotion captures a “snapshot”, if you will, of the heartrending reality of the mother’s presence during the supreme travail of her Son’s sacrifice.
Between the 4th Station and the Cross
Let us consider three truths about Mary’s walking with Christ:
First, she was powerless to take her Son off the Via Crucis. This is not only because she was deprived of all human influence over those who killed Jesus but also because she respected the divine will of the heavenly Father for His Son’s atoning death.
Second, she said nothing. We do not have one recorded word of Our Lady after the Wedding at Cana. Mary is a silent presence in His life, never taking our attention away from Him, never distracting us from His life, works, and sacrifice. She is with Him, supporting Him, discerning all His actions in silence.
Third, she perseveres to the end with Him. The other “snapshot” the Gospel gives us of Mary is her “standing by the foot of the Cross” on Calvary, which is attested to by the Apostle John, who was there to witness Our Lady’s silent atoning union with her Son at the focal point of all history.
When Jesus saw his mother and the disciple there whom he loved, he said to his mother, “Woman, behold, your son.” Then he said to the disciple, “Behold, your mother.” And from that hour the disciple took her into his home. (John 19:26-27)
Just as she accompanied Christ on His sorrowful way, so also Mary meets each of us in that dreadful time between our embrace of suffering and its resolution. It is the time of grace in which Our Lady shows that she is faithful to us on our own personal Via Crucis.
Mary Walks with Us
John is the symbol and the representative of every disciple of Jesus. Will this woman, entrusted to the Church by Christ for the rest of time, be absent to us in our individual sorrowful ways? This is another question that answers itself as soon as it is asked.
When we “take her into our homes” (hearts), Our Lady carries out the same ministry of silent presence with us in all our needs as she did with her Son: silently walking with us, giving us confidence; respecting God’s Will for each of our lives; persevering to the end of our way, however long it lasts and to wherever it leads.
Christ was intimately aware of His mother walking with Him on His way to Calvary, but do we have that same awareness?
Awareness of Heart
The consciousness of her presence is entirely dependent upon our faith. Will we turn to her, ask her help, bid her to accompany us, surrender all our worries and concerns to her? These are strong faith habits in any type of crisis, particularly in the type of prolonged suffering the world is currently experiencing with the COVID-19 pandemic.
Most importantly, these habits of heart are a way of life for us. We turn to Mary in all our needs, and she unravels the disfigured habits that sin has formed within us. She unties the knots of sorrow and pain that accompany every believer in a corrupted world.
Our Lady, Undoer of knots walks with us. We walk with her in every field and concern of life. We walk together to Calvary. To Christ.
By Peter Darcy
iconographic source: https://fr.wikipedia.org/wiki/Chemin_de_croix#/media/Fichier:Chiesa_di_San_Polo_(Venice)_-_VIA_CRUCIS_IV_-_Jesus_meets_his_mother_by_Giandomenico_Tiepolo.jpg