The cross and the lady beneath


It is only fitting that the day after the Feast of the Exaltation of the Holy Cross is the Memorial of Our Lady of Sorrows, for although the cross is exalted for our redemption that redemption was at a cost. Our Lady of Sorrows is a reminder of that cost. It was Mary who witnessed the price of salvation, it was she who endured the suffering of her Son and it is she who bears the sorrow of our sin. It was through Mary’s fidelity to God that she bore Jesus, and that fidelity is consistent through his ministry. Her sorrow is predicted by Simeon at the presentation, she bears the sorrow of the flight into Egypt during the Martyrdom of the Innocents, the loss of Jesus in the Temple and the sorrows of Cavalry; Jesus death upon the cross, receiving his lifeless body and his burial. It is her sorrows that realize the price of sin, her grace that bears these sorrows as a price of our redemption. Her willingness to accept these sorrows on our behalf, are proof positive of her willing grace to intercede on our behalf

I never really did finish this post. The above is from previous years. Every year the coincidence of the Cross and Mary’s sorrows leaps at me. The Cross, an instrument of torment and of fear. An instrument of cruelty and inhumanity, and yet it is exulted. It is raised up and adored. But why, because it killed someone? Because it killed many? A landscape littered with crosses and their decaying bodies were common throughout the Roman Empire, but why celebrate them? The one Cross gives reason, the Sacred Cross. That Sacred Cross. The Cross upon which the LORD hung, it was that particular Cross that redeemed the world. That Cross. Upon it hung our sins and failure, and condemnation. Upon it the forgiveness and the redemption that has set us free. But still, worship an instrument of terror and pain? No, that is not the case. The point is we celebrate one Cross, one in particular that is the Cross of our LORD. One Cross is exalted, the Cross of salvation. Ponder the symbol of salvation, the symbol of Christianity. No, it was not two intersecting beams because they brought horror to the original Christians. The symbol in fact was Pisces, the fish. The Pontiff wears a fisherman’s ring, a fisher of men. The Cross, a reminder of the price paid. The price of redemption, and the price was great. Who knew that price, who witnessed the ransom? Who was there? Mary, our Lady of Sorrows. She stood beneath that Cross, the one that bore her Son the redeemer, the voice of Christian witness. Our Lady of Sorrows. Coincidence that the Exaltation of the Cross and the Sorrows of Mary are remembered side by side? I think not

I thought of this juxtaposition. The Mother of God standing beneath the Crucifix, the Cross that bore Her Son. Of course I could understand her agony and her pain and her suffering, but what could I say? How can I describe it, my mind went blank. But then the Pope spoke. He spoke about women standing in a line, standing outside a prison. Standing outside waiting to see their sons. Their sons incarcerated for crimes horrific and scandalous. Their sons, murders and thieves and villains. Their sons horrific, yet still their sons. Still their sons, the ones they carried and the flesh they bore. The flesh that hung in a cross, their flesh and they stood by it. Certainly they too, the women outside a prison, were scandalized, and pierced, and wounded, and humiliated, and spat on. Because of association, and fidelity. But they stood there. The ladies beneath the cross. I understand the days, both days. I understand how they relate, and what they mean. It has been put into perspective and it has focus. The elevating of tortious Cross because of what had occurred on it. The memorial of the Cross and who stood beneath it, a remembrance of Mary’s sorrows. Mary’s sorrows in our world today. With those women standing in line outside a prison, waiting to see their children, I wonder why they do not walk away. Why don’t they stand there humiliated? Who encouraged them to do so, who set the example? Mary, beneath a Cross.

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