How did you do it?
He grew inside you for nine months. You felt him kick and move within. You experienced the pain of labor only to forget it upon seeing his face. You were as physically close to him as two humans can be. His life depended on your love. You fed his body with your body. You consoled him when he cried. When he needed comfort or to feel safe, your arms were where he turned.
You changed his clothes. You bathed him. You loved him as no one can love other than a mother. You gazed at his innocent face and felt his hand grip your finger. You watched as he discovered his own hands and saw the wonder on his face as he realized he controlled them. He smiled at you, the special baby smile that is given freely and genuinely. You held his hands when he learned to stand and walk. When he fell you picked him up, dusted the dirt from his knees, patted his bottom and sent him off. You picked up his spoon as he playfully dropped it again and again, giggling at what he could get you to do.
When he danced you danced with him. When he cried you held him close. As he grew you marveled at the person he was becoming. His personality became his own. And through it all you loved him more than you ever knew you could love. He made you laugh; he brought you joy.
Then one day at the wedding it started. You gave him to the world. You did not know for what, but when he told you it was the beginning you agreed. You remembered what was foretold, that you yourself a sword will pierce (Lk 2:35). As he worked his mission, you were there, listening and loving, the first and best disciple. You saw it all and you pondered it and you kept it in your heart.
Then you did what no mother should ever have to do — you witnessed the torture and death of the child you bore. You saw the brutal scourging. You watched as his flesh was ripped apart. You saw the pain on his face and you reverently cleaned up his blood when it finally ended.
How it must have hurt you to see him suffer and know it must be done. You were in the crowd as he carried the cross. The heavy wood cross weighed on his raw, bruised, bleeding back. You saw him fall three times and you saw him get back up. All you could do was be a witness and in your presence you brought him comfort.
When his eyes locked on yours, he knew of your endless, limitless love. In the face of indescribable evil, you stood strong and true. When they hammered the nails through the hands you’d held, the hands that held you, when they stretched out the arms that had wrapped around you searching for comfort and offering protection, when they spread him on the cross you were there. When they nailed his feet, the feet you’d so lovingly cared for, you were there. Most others left, but you were there. For his sake, you were strong while your beloved child was put to death.
How did you do it, Mary?
Copyright 2018 Merridith Frediani