For a tender Mother, it is a sad spectacle to see expiring before her eyes, a unique Son. How many tears she spilled on his lifeless remains! Alas! it had to be much more painful still for Mary, when the body of her Divine Son was laid in her arms!
The Church represents our holy confessors of the faith, each with the instrument of their punishment: Saint Paul with a sword, St. Andrew with his cross, St. Catherine with her wheel. Only Jesus was the instrument of martyrdom for Mary. She is offered to our compassionate reverence, there, holding death in her arms what she held dearest in the world.
Let us listen now this tender Mother; she cries out to us with an accent that can reach the most insensitive hearts. O you that are traveling on this earth, stop at least for a moment, and see if among all those who are afflicted, it is a pain like mine. Let us pay to Mary all the duties that real children must have to a Mother so deeply afflicted.
It was not enough that Mary had seen her divine Son scourged, crowned with thorns, nailed to the cross; she had to see Him die and they had to be separated for ever. Jesus expiring handles himself to tell His mother about that harsh and cruel separation. He does it with all the discretion of the most careful charity. He knew all too well the shot He was going to inflict on the most loving of all hearts! A few days before His Passion, He told His dear Apostles, that He would not leave them like orphans; He does not want either that His poor mother be at once a widow and with no child: «Woman, He said, pointing to the beloved disciple, here is your son; and you, here is your Mother. »
That was enough Mary understood it. The love of Jesus strongly touches her maternal heart; but also the sacrifice that the filial affection of Jesus vainly sought to conceal, it shows itself to her in its full extent. The sword of Simeon penetrated to the bottom of her soul. That sword breaks with difficulty all the more strong ties they (Mary and Jesus) had, like something quite heavenly. That sword inundates with such a great pain as the sea to Mary. The presence of Jesus was to Mary like what is a dam that is opposed to the fury of the ocean. When Jesus expired the waves of sorrow overflowed and overwhelmed Mary from all sides.
Let us sympathize with the desolation of the Blessed Virgin; let us admire the truly heroic submission with which she surrendered herself to the greatest of sacrifices.
Jesus' mother stood at the foot of the cross. John XIX. 25.
Mary did not leave her dear Son in the course of His painful Passion; she even had the courage to climb with Him to Calvary, and to be constantly witnessed the abuse the deicide Jewish lavished on Him. But, what a horrible spectacle! behold the object of all her affections bound and suspended by three nails to a infamous wood. Jesus on the cross was reduced to a pitiful state, He was just one big sore from head to foot; His face was covered with a deadly paleness, His features were distorted and livid, His eyes cast down, and filled with tears; blood streams of all His members, and His life was coming to an end. Mary saw much of the wounds on the body of Jesus, so she felt them like sharp swords piercing her own heart.
St. Augustine said that the mother of the Maccabees died many times when she had her children slain before her eyes; but you, O Holy Virgin! How many times have you endured the horrors of death at the foot of the cross where you saw your Son expiring? Ah! no doubt, you suffered so many deaths as Jesus shed drops of blood, as He uttered sighs on this bed of pain.