I never really got it! I thought I understood, but I didn’t. Until my middle son played Jesus one Good Friday, it never really hit me. I didn’t just cause Christ to suffer with my sinfulness, I caused Mary to suffer, too. It was so hard to see my son in silhouette suffering (even though he was only acting). I wanted to scream out for the other actors to stop hurting him, to take me in his place. I was proud of him, but I wanted it to end — quickly.
Following that, we watched “The Passion of the Christ” (a film directed by Mel Gibson). I studied the face of Mary, watching the pain and concern written upon it. Reality hit me — I did that! We all did that; we caused that much suffering on the face of Mary, our mother who loves us. God the Father can feel far away and removed sometimes. He’s God, I rationalize; he can handle anything. Mary, on the other hand, was just like us. A human moved by the human condition, moved by compassion, and suffering as she watched her son suffer.
This experience changed my prayer life and brought the Blessed Virgin’s humanity and suffering to me in a new way, a personal way. We often discuss a personal relationship with Christ; however, I am now developing a more personal relationship with Mary. We Catholics do not worship Mary, we honor her. We appreciate her fiat, her yes to God, her sacrifice, and her love for her son and for all of us. The rosary is a Christ-centered, Gospel-revealing prayer. We ask for Mary’s prayers, acknowledging her as our Blessed Mother, but the focus is still on Christ. She will always lead us to him. Viewing Mary in this way has forced me to question how well I love others. I wonder if I can love those who hurt me the way Mary still loves me and all her sinful children even though we cause her son to suffer. I am faced with a challenging mandate — to love as she does, as he does. I hope that I can rise to the challenge! Mary, pray for us.
Copyright 2019 Mary Lou Rosien