Continuing his catechesis on Christian prayer, this Wednesday Pope Benedict turned to the teaching of the Apostle Paul, whose letters show us that “in reality there is no human cry that is not heard by God” and that “prayer does not exempt us from trial and suffering”, “but allows us to live and cope with a new force, with the same confidence of Jesus”.
When you love Jesus very much, especially as a spouse, and you know that there is no sin that does not wound Him, and that there is no cry that He does not hear, it can cause great sorrow. You can begin to understand better the sorrows of Mary, too.
Mary is not mentioned in the Gospel accounts of Christ’s Transfiguration, His entry into Jerusalem, but she is recorded as being present at Calvary. She understood what the Will of God was and was faithful, co-operating with her Son as Co-redemptrix. She had prepared the victim for sacrifice and now she offered Him on the altar of Calvary.
The Gospel, John 19:25, says: “Near the Cross of Jesus stood His mother, his mother’s sister, Mary, the wife of Cleopas, and Mary Magdalene.” At Christ’s bequest, Mary was proclaimed the universal Mother of mankind from the Cross.
Mary had three loves in her Immaculate Heart: God, her Son, and souls. She so loved the world that she gave her only Son. As St. Bernard said, “The sword would not have reached Jesus if it had not pierced Mary’s heart.” Mary loved souls and on Calvary, after suffering such cruel torments she merited being the mother of all mankind.
Mary is the Apostle because she is Co-redemptrix: Behold Mary on Calvary, she suffers and prays; she stands, as one offering sacrifice.
St. Ambrose said, “I read that she stood, but I do not read that she wept.” When Mary gave us her Son, she gave us everything. Therefore it can very well be said: “Behold this heart which has so greatly loved all people that it has spared nothing for them.”
In like manner, we stand with Christ as co-redeemers, as we have a share in all that is His, including His Cross and the redemption, though unlike Mary, we were not preserved from the stain of sin. Moreover, Mary loved Jesus as her own Son and as the Son of God. She loves all of us, too, her sons and daughters through Christ.
When you consider that you are a member of the family of God, and that all suffering is due to sin, and that He hears every cry, it can be an incredibly heavy weight to bear for love of Him. Though I know that He has redeemed the world, and that the battle has been won, this does not reduce the pain from sin, nor the sorrow from knowing the sufferings of our Lord.
I know that if people heard the cries of the unborn as our Lord does, there would be very few, if any, abortions. As it stands, there are over 3,000 abortions every single day in America alone. Father, forgive them for they know not what they do. When I consider the pain of children who do not know their own parents and who do not know the security and love of being in a family with both a mother and a father, I think how great is that suffering for those children and for our Blessed Lord. It is out of love for Him and wanting to ease His sufferings, and the sufferings of the vulnerable who belong to Him, that I cry out to the world to stop. But in the end, I must be like Mary who stands silently at the Cross as her own Son, the Son of God, is tortured to death. In the end, I must let go and let Him bear the pain of all these sins, and so must we all, with Mary, our Mother.
Had I but Mary’s sinless heart, To love Thee with, my dearest King,
O what with bursts of fervent praise, Thy goodness, Jesus, would I sing.