“Mondays with Mary” – The Burial of Our Lord, and the Loneliness of the Blessed Virgin

Today, we conclude the seven-week examination of The Seven Sorrows of Our Lady. For the past six weeks, I have focused on explaining these sorrows, which are meditated upon in the Mater Dolorosa Rosary. For today’s “Mondays with Mary”, we are going to focus our attention on the last sorrow – The Burial of Our Lord, and the Loneliness of the Blessed Virgin Mary. The Burial of Our Lord or Jesus is laid in the Sepulcher is traditionally prayed as the Fourteenth Station of the Cross.

The Burial of Jesus Christ is written in all four Gospel accounts with each evangelist explaining his own account of what occurred. The one thing that stands out in all four accounts is the mention of Joseph of Arimathea. I spoke about Joseph of Arimathea in last week’s post, but essentially he was a righteous and virtuous man who was for the most part a silent follower of Jesus since he was a member of the Sanhedrin, a group that disliked Jesus and his teachings. However, at the death of Jesus, Joseph, along with Nicodemus (Jn 3:1-21,19:39) finds the courage to boldly ask for the body of Jesus to have him buried.

After confirming that Jesus died (Mk 15:44-45), Pilate then proceeded to give the body to Joseph. Our Lord Jesus Christ was buried in a tomb that is believed to have been a tomb owned by Joseph of Arimathea, and a tomb that no one again was laid. St. Augustine says in In Ioannis Evangelium, “just as in the womb of the Virgin Mary none was conceived before him, none after him, so in this tomb none before him, none was buried after him.”

The Entombment of Christ - Caravaggio

The Entombment of Christ – Caravaggio

It’s believed that wealthy Jews had graves on their own properties meant for them and their families. Tombs in the early centuries were carved out of rock. The average tomb composed of a small vestibule in the front half of the tomb and the inner part of the tomb, or the vault, had a variety of etches carved in the walls where the bodies were laid.

In the case of Jesus Christ, the Gospels of Matthew, Mark, and Luke speak about how the women were witnesses to the burial. As she was with him as he walked to Calvary, and as she stood at the Cross and watched him die, more than likely the Blessed Virgin Mary was a member of the group of women that watched Jesus be laid to rest in the tomb.

Although the Sacred Scriptures don’t speak of Mary’s loneliness after the burial of Jesus, the devotion to the Blessed Virgin Mary in some countries that speak Spanish is known as Nuestra Senora de la Soledad or Our Lady of Solitude. The devotion to Our Lady under this title was developed as she lay in wait beginning on Good Friday, continuing to Holy Saturday till the Resurrection of Jesus Christ on Easter Sunday.

Our Lady of Solitude - Philippines

Since Our Lady of Solitude is in mourning for the death of her Son, art often depicts Mary as wearing the traditional color of mourning, which is black. She is also kneeling before the tools of death that killed Jesus – the scourge, nails, hammer, rope, crown of thorns, spear, and the INRI sign placed above the head on the cross. There are angels that flank Mary separating the curtains to show Our Lady as the Sorrowful Mother.

Let us pray that we never look upon the Fourteenth Station of the Way of the Cross without remembering the sorrow and loneliness that the Blessed Virgin Mary endured for Jesus. Let us pray that when we pray the Stations of the Cross we too may come to know the loneliness of Our Lord Jesus Christ’s Passion and Death through the witness of the Blessed Virgin Mary.

“Mondays with Mary”: The Descent from the Cross, and Jesus in the Arms of His Most Blessed Mother

Continuing with our examination of the Seven Sorrows of Mary, which are meditated in the Rosary of the Mater Dolorosa, today we discuss The Descent from the Cross, and Jesus in the Arms of His Most Blessed Mother.

Traditionally prayed as the Thirteenth Station of the Way of the Cross, the Descent from the Cross and Jesus in the Arms of His Most Blessed Mother is the most touching scene in a very brutal Passion of Our Lord Jesus Christ. It’s the last scene before Jesus is buried in the tomb. Often depicted in art, as in Michelangelo’s Pieta (pictured below), the descent from the cross and Jesus in the arms of His Most Blessed Mother moves us emotionally in a way often hard to explain. I remember that first time, and the only time, I saw the Pieta in St. Peter’s Basilica. It was as if I was there personally when Jesus was laid in the arms of the Blessed Mother. The tears that flowed from my eyes and down my face were nearly uncontrollable.


A very instrumental character in these final scenes in the Gospels is St. Joseph of Arimathea. He was a wealthy, righteous, and holy man, who was part of the Sanhedrin, but did not condemn Jesus to die. He came forth with St. Nicodemus and assisted with the taking down of Jesus’ body from the cross, and the eventual burial of his body in the tomb. A tomb tradition believes was Joseph’s own, but because he was a believer of Jesus Christ, he gave it up for Our Lord’s body to be entombed. At the chance of risking his reputation in the Sanhedrin, he courageously and boldly stands up for Jesus Christ as a “disciple” and assists in the burial of Our Lord. It is for this reason that St. Joseph of Arimathea is the Patron Saint of Funeral Directors.

To help us understand today’s post a bit more, I turn to the visions of Blessed Anne Catherine Emmerich which are catalogued in the book, The Dolorous Passion of Our Lord Jesus Christ

“…When the body was taken down it was wrapped in linen from the knees to the waist, then placed in the arms of the Blessed Virgin, who, overwhelmed with sorrow and love, stretched them forth to receive their precious burden.

The Blessed Virgin seated herself upon a large cloth spread on the ground, with her right knee, which was slightly raised, and her back resting against some mantles, rolled together so as to form a species of cushion. No precaution had been neglected which could in any way facilitate to her – the Mother of Sorrows – in her deep affliction of soul, the mournful but most sacred duty which she was about to fulfill in regard to the body of her beloved Son. The adorable head of Jesus rested upon Mary’s knee, and his body was stretched upon a sheet. The Blessed Virgin was overwhelmed with sorrow and love. Once more, and for the last time, did she hold in her arms the body of her most beloved Son, to whom she had been unable to give any testimony of love during the longs hours of his martyrdom. And she gazed upon his wounds and fondly embraced his blood-stained cheeks, whilst Magdalene pressed her face upon his feet.”

The Descent from the Cross - Rogier van der Weyden. Created 1435-1438.

The Descent from the Cross – Rogier van der Weyden. Created 1435-1438.

Let us pray that we never look upon this Thirteenth Station of the Way of the Cross without remembering the hardship, sorrow, and love that the Blessed Virgin Mary endured and felt. Let us pray that when pray the Stations of the Cross we too may come to know the sorrow of Our Lord Jesus Christ’s Passion and Death.


Emmerich, Anne Catherine. The Dolorous Passion of Our Lord Jesus Christ. Tan Books and Publishers, 2005.

Ignatius Catholic Study Bible New Testament. Ignatius Press, 2010.

The Navarre Bible – The New Testament Expanded Edition. Four Courts/Scepter, 2008.

“Mondays with Mary” – The Crucifixion and Death of Our Lord Jesus Christ and Mary at the Foot of the Cross

Continuing with our examination of the Seven Sorrows of Mary, which are meditated in the Rosary of the Mater Dolorosa, today we discuss The Crucifixion and Death of Our Lord Jesus Christ and Mary at the Foot of the Cross.

The place where our Lord was crucified is known as Calvary or “the place of the skull” (Aramaic – Golgotha). It was on the outskirts of Jerusalem and was a disused rock query shaped like a skull. It was the primary location for criminal executions performed by the Romans as well as the sanitation dump for the city at the time.

The crucifixion is the total summary of the life and death of Jesus Christ –

The seamless tunic that Our Lord worn and was stripped of him before he willingly lay upon the cross represents the unity of the Church. It’s the same unity that Jesus asked for in John 17:20-26. The Blessed Virgin Mary, St. John the Apostle, the gushing of blood and water from the side of Jesus reconnects us with the Wedding Feast at Cana. The blood and water represent the Sacraments of Baptism and Holy Eucharist. It is through these two sacraments that individuals become members of the Church.

When Jesus thirsts on the cross it harkens us back to John 4 – The Samaritan Woman at the Well. It is here that we see Jesus isn’t only interesting in saving the Jews, but he is looking to save all souls. Those very last words of Jesus (vs. 30) on the cross display for us that he is truly dying. He will eventually send the Holy Spirit to the Church, a promise he made numerous times in the scriptures.

Crucifixion of Jesus Christ

Lastly, we see that before his death Jesus gives the Blessed Mother to St. John. The famous words of Jesus while suffering on the Cross-to Mary and John establish for all of humanity the relationship that we would have with Her for all time. At the point when Jesus says, “Woman, behold your son…Behold, your mother”, symbolically through the disciple John, Mary becomes the Spiritual Mother for all humanity. She is the spiritual gift personally given by Jesus Christ himself to every human person – believer or non-believer. The “beloved disciple” from that moment on takes Mary into his home and treats her as his own mother.

We too must invite Mary into our “homes” and allow her to be our mother. The devotion the Catholic Church has to the Blessed Virgin Mary developed from the households of Saint John.

The display or “title” over the head of Jesus proclaims that he is the Universal King and Christ. Written in multiple languages (Latin, Hebrew, and Greek), it signifies that the universal world that made their pilgrimage to Jerusalem could read it. It affirms that words of Jesus to Pontius Pilate from John 18:37 – “You say that I am a king. For this I was born, and for this have come into the world, to bear witness to the truth.”

Although Mary does not endure a physical suffering in the way our Lord does, she does suffer spiritually with him as he makes his way to the Cross. She is the Sorrowful Mother walking and standing with her Son. Pope St. John Paul II says in Salvifici Doloris,

“…It was on Calvary that Mary’s suffering, beside the suffering of Jesus, reached an intensity which can hardly be imagined from a human point of view but which mysteriously and supernaturally fruitful for the Redemption of the world. Her ascent of Calvary and her standing at the foot of the cross together with the beloved disciple were a special sort of sharing in the redeeming of her Son. And the words which she heard from His lips were a kind of solemn handing-over of this Gospel of suffering so that it could be proclaimed to the whole community of believers.”

For more on the Crucifixion and Death of Jesus Christ and Mary at the Foot of the Cross, please read the following blog posts –

Quick Lessons from the Catechism: The Crucifixion of Our Lord Jesus Christ

“Mondays with Mary” – Six Words of Pope John Paul II on Mary at the Cross

“Mondays with Mary” – 7 Quotes by Pope St. John Paul II on Our Lady of Sorrows

“Mondays with Mary” – ‘Leads Us To Jesus’ (Pope Benedict XVI Homily at Altötting)


Ignatius Catholic Study Bible New Testament. Ignatius Press, 2010.

The Navarre Bible – The New Testament Expanded Edition. Four Courts/Scepter, 2008.

“Mondays with Mary” – The Loss of the Child Jesus in the Temple

Continuing with our examination of the Seven Sorrows of Mary, which are meditated in the Rosary of the Mater Dolorosa, today we discuss the Loss of the Child Jesus in the Temple. If you haven’t read my previous posts on the first two sorrows, I would encourage you to read both of them – The Prophecy of Holy Simeon and The Flight of the Holy Family into Egypt.

In the Gospel of Luke, we read,

Now his parents went to Jerusalem every year at the feast of the Passover. And when he was twelve years old, they went up according to custom; and when the feast was ended, as they were returning, the boy Jesus stayed behind in Jerusalem. His parents did not know it, but supposing him to be in the company they went a day’s journey, and they sought him among their kinsfolk and acquaintances; and when they did not find him, they returned to Jerusalem, seeking him. After three days they found him in the temple, sitting among the teachers, listening to them and asking them questions; and all who heard him were amazed at his understanding and his answers. And when they saw him they were astonished; and his mother said to him, “Son, why have you treated us so? Behold, your father and I have been looking for you anxiously.” And he said to them, “How is it that you sought me? Did you not know that I must be in my Father’s house?” And they did not understand the saying which he spoke to them. And he went down with them and came to Nazareth, and was obedient to them; and his mother kept all these things in her heart.

The Loss of the Child Jesus in the Temple begins not in the Temple where it’s revealed to us in the Sacred Scriptures, but days before, since it was custom that the men of Israel were obligated through the Law to make a pilgrimage to Israel for three feasts each year. This was the feast of Unleavened Bread and the Passover. Although women and children were not indebted to attend these feasts, devout families would often travel together up to Jerusalem. Now knowing this, we can see how easily it was that Jesus had gone missing.

The Finding of the Savior in the Temple - William Holman Hunt

The Finding of the Savior in the Temple – William Holman Hunt

During these pilgrimages, the city of Jerusalem would surge, and nearly double in size with the many people arriving and staying. To get from their home to Jerusalem and back again, individuals would travel in caravans and in two groups, one group of men and one group of women. Children would go with one of the two groups. When a stop was made, this was the time for families to gather together again. It was at this point when returning to Nazareth that Mary and Joseph realized that Jesus was not with them. They searched for him among the other family members, but not finding him, they returned to Jerusalem seeking the Child. You could imagine the anxiety and sorrow they must have felt as they rushed back to find Jesus.

St. Luke doesn’t explain to us this journey back to Jerusalem, but focuses on the dialogue between Jesus and his Mother. As they return to the Holy City, they find Jesus in the Temple “listening to [the teachers] and asking them questions (vs. 46), and everyone that heard him were “amazed at his understanding” (vs. 47). We come to realize that Jesus isn’t just your ordinary Jewish child, or even a very clever boy, but he is the Son of God.

The response that Jesus gives to his mother is neither remote nor rebuking, but shows that the Semitic mind is a mind that “relishes contrasts and antithesis.” Jesus’ response is not stating that they as his parents did something incorrectly, but that the will of God is more important than their role as parents. They must learn to be subservient to the divine economy of God. His parents do have an important part to play since they will raise him. He will grow under their care and be obedient to them.

Allegorically, in his document, In Lucam, St. Ambrose says that, “the discovery of Jesus in the Temple prefigures his Resurrection, when Christ will be three days absent in flesh, only to be found again in the flesh. The anxiety following his burial will likewise give way to joy and relief at his rising.”

Furthermore the great saint of Milan states Jesus “does not reproach them for having searched for their son; his words are intended to make them raise the eyes of their souls to see what is due to the One whose Eternal Son he is.”

So as I conclude, for this week as we continue to focus on the Seven Sorrows of Mary, let us have the intention to seek out the Lord Jesus Christ this week and embrace him wholeheartedly. May we never lose sight of His abundant love and mercy for us. Let us know that Christ leads us to the Father just as Mary leads us to Him.


Ignatius Catholic Study Bible New Testament. Ignatius Press, 2010.

The Navarre Bible – The New Testament Expanded Edition. Four Courts/Scepter, 2008.

“Mondays with Mary” – The Flight of the Holy Family into Egypt

For the next seven weeks, which began last Monday, we are going to focus on the Seven Sorrows of Mary, which are prayed and meditated upon in the Rosary of the Mater Dolorosa. Last week we focused our attention on the first sorrow – The Prophecy of Holy Simeon. This week we continue our studies concentrating on the second sorrow, The Flight of the Holy Family into Egypt. To learn more about the Rosary and Litany, if you haven’t read my previous posts, I would highly encourage you to do so.

In the Gospel of St. Matthew, we read,

Now when they had departed, behold, an angel of the Lord appeared to Joseph in a dream and said, “Rise, take the child and his mother, and flee to Egypt, and remain there till I tell you; for Herod is about to search for the child, to destroy him.” And he rose and took the child and his mother by night, and departed to Egypt, and remained there until the death of Herod. This was to fulfill what the Lord had spoken by the prophet, “Out of Egypt have I called my son.”

The Flight into Egypt by the Holy Family recounts the typological connections between Jesus and some of the Old Testament figures that also fled into Egypt. In the Book of Genesis, we see Jacob and his entire family flee into Egypt (46:1-7). In the Book of Exodus, we see the entire Israel nation; descendants of Jacob (also known as Israel) come from the land of Egypt (12:37). Jesus is the fulfillment of Israel and is considered the New Israel. With him, the new People of God come into being as the Church. Furthermore, we see the connection between Jesus and Moses, both were saved through God’s divine will as infants only to lead and establish the Lord’s people (Ex. 2:1-10).


At the command of God, Joseph, as head of the Holy Family and protector of their lives, takes the child and his mother and escapes the onslaught of what’s to come due to Herod’s fury (see Mt 2:16-18). During the New Testament centuries, there were large Jewish communities in the Egyptian colonies of Alexandria and Elephantine where Jesus, Mary, and Joseph could hide and feel protected from the hand of Herod.

To fulfill what the Lord had spoken in Hosea, “When Israel was a child, I loved him, and out of Egypt I called my son “(11:1), St. Matthew anticipates that return of Jesus as the Son as the fulfillment of this scripture verse in two ways. First, Hosea should make us think back to the Book of Exodus when God calls Israel his “first-born son” (4:22). It is here where Israel is freed from the slavery under Pharaoh. Second, it brings us forward knowing that Jesus is the eternal first-born son (Rom 8:29) who is delivered from the tyrannical rule of Herod and comes out of Egypt to return to Israel.

Regarding the Flight into Egypt (and the Slaughtering of the Holy Innocents), The Catechism of the Catholic Church says,

“The flight into Egypt and the massacre of the innocents make manifest the opposition of darkness to the light: “He came to his own home, and his own people received him not.” Christ’s whole life was lived under the sign of persecution. His own share it with him. Jesus’ departure from Egypt recalls the exodus and presents him as the definitive liberator of God’s people” (#530).

As we continue our examination of the Seven Sorrows of Mary, let us pray for the intercession of the Holy Family that we may have the strength and courage to stand against all those who seek to destroy our lives as faithful Catholic Christians. Let us also ask for the intercession of St. Joseph, who was the Protector of the Child Jesus and Mary and is the Protector of the Holy Catholic Church.

“Mondays with Mary” – The Prophecy of Holy Simeon

Over the past few weeks, I have focused our attention on the Rosary and Litany of the Mater Dolorosa, prayers I learned after attending a Miles Christi Silent Retreat. In case you have not read the previous posts, the Rosary of the Mater Dolorosa meditates on the Seven Sorrows of Our Lady.

In order to help you say the Mater Dolorosa Rosary with more fervor and prayer, I am going to explain teachings of the Seven Sorrows for the next seven weeks. I will also draw your attention to other blog posts that I have written that underline each sorrow and its theme. For this first week, we shall examine the Prophecy of Holy Simeon.

In the Gospel of St. Luke, we read,

“Now there was a man in Jerusalem, whose name was Simeon, and this man was righteous and devout, looking for the consolation of Israel, and the Holy Spirit was upon him. And it had been revealed to him by the Holy Spirit that he should not see death before he had seen the Lord’s Christ. And inspired by the Spirit he came into the temple; and when the parents brought in the child Jesus, to do for him according to the custom of the law, he took him up in his arms and blessed God and said, “Lord, now lettest thou thy servant depart in peace, according to thy word; for mine eyes have seen thy salvation which thou hast prepared in the presence of all peoples, a light for revelation to the Gentiles, and for glory to thy people Israel.” And his father and his mother marveled at what was said about him; and Simeon blessed them and said to Mary his mother, “Behold, this child is set for the fall and rising of many in Israel, and for a sign that is spoken against (and a sword will pierce through your own soul also), that thoughts out of many hearts may be revealed” (vv. 25-35).


Simeon (along with Anna) is an elderly individual who stands in faithful anticipation for the coming of Israel’s Savior and Redeemer. They both give praise to God for allowing them to live long enough to see the hope they have waited for in the infant Jesus. In the above scriptural passage, we are introduced to Simeon, a man led by the Holy Spirit. Since it was revealed that he would see the Messiah before his death, anything that he professes is very significant. He says that Jesus is the Messiah Israel has been waiting for; he also states that He is mankind’s “light” and “salvation.” Along with these words of great hope, Simeon’s prophecy also states that Jesus’ birth will bring with it the rise and fall of many in Israel and his sign of salvation will be a sign that contradicts. It is at this point in the life of Christ that we see both sorrow and joy.

Not only would there be sorrow in the life of Christ, but Mary, the Mother of Jesus would endure great amounts of sorrow as well – “a sword will pierce through your own soul also.” Let’s clarify something – an actual physical sword never pierces Mary’s soul, but because of the great pains she would endure watching our Lord suffer in his sacrifice at Calvary, spiritually she suffers with Him. In her vocation as Mother, Mary must embrace a maternal suffering. The Catechism of the Catholic Church states, “In fact Jesus desires to associate with his redeeming sacrifice those who were to be its first beneficiaries. This is achieved supremely in the case of his mother, who was associated more intimately than any other person in the mystery of his redemptive suffering” (#618).

The Catechism further states, “the sword of sorrow predicted for Mary announces Christ’s perfect and unique oblation on the cross that will impart the salvation God had ‘prepared in the presences of all peoples’” (#529).

Furthermore, in his document, Redemptoris Mater, Pope St. John Paul II says, “Simeon’s words seem like a second Annunciation to Mary, for they tell her of the actual historical situation in which the Son is to accomplish his mission, namely in misunderstanding and sorrow. While this announcement on the one hand confirms her faith in the accomplishment of the divine promises of salvation, on the other hand it also reveals to her that she will have to live her obedience of faith in suffering, at the side of the suffering Savior, and that her motherhood will be mysterious and sorrowful” (#16).

Through the Prophecy of Holy Simeon, the Blessed Virgin Mary and St. Joseph learn that not only will their child bring glory to His people, but that he will also bring salvation to all of humanity.

This event in the scriptures is the seed that would blossom into what would eventually become the Devotion to the Immaculate Heart of Mary.

As we conclude today’s post, let us ask the Lord Jesus Christ to allow us to always be ready to receive him in our hearts, allow us to share in his sacrifice, and allow us to bring Him to others as messengers through the intercession of the Holy Spirit.


Ignatius Catholic Study Bible New Testament. Ignatius Press, 2010.

The Navarre Bible – The New Testament Expanded Edition. Four Courts/Scepter, 2008.

“Mondays with Mary” – The Blessed Virgin Mary in the Sacred Scriptures

In his document, Marialis Cultus (For the Right Ordering and Development of Devotion to the Blessed Virgin Mary), Blessed Pope Paul VI says this about devotion to Mary in the Biblical context,

“Devotion to the Blessed Virgin Mary cannot be exempt from this general orientation of Christian piety; indeed it should draw inspiration in a special way from this orientation in order to gain new vigor and sure help. In its wonderful presentation of God’s plan for man’s salvation, the Bible is replete with the mystery of the Savior, and from Genesis to the Book of Revelation, also contains clear references to Mary, who was the Mother and associate of the Savior.”

The letter, The Virgin Mary in Intellectual and Spiritual Formation, written by the Congregation for Catholic Education in 1988, when speaking about the exegetical research focused on Mary says,

“Biblical exegesis has opened new frontiers for Mariology, ever dedicating more attention to the inter-testamental literature. Some texts of the Old Testament, and especially the New Testament parts of Luke and Matthew on the infancy of Jesus, and the Johannine periscopes, have been the object of continuous and deep study, the results of which have reinforced the biblical basis of Mariology and considerably enriched its themes.”

Furthermore, Pope Benedict XVI in his Apostolic Exhortation, Verbum Domini (Word of God), states the following about Mariology and the Word of God,

“The Synod Fathers declared that the basic aim of the Twelfth Assembly was “to renew the Church’s faith in the word of God”. To do so, we need to look to the one in whom the interplay between the word of God and faith was brought to perfection, that is, to the Virgin Mary…I would encourage scholars as well to study the relationship between Mariology and the theology of the word. This could prove most beneficial both for the spiritual life and for theological and biblical studies. Indeed, what the understanding of the faith has enabled us to know about Mary stands at the heart of Christian truth.”

Mary Ponders The Word of God

Now that you have read through these three quotes focusing on the importance the Blessed Virgin Mary plays in the Sacred Scriptures, let us turn our attention to eight previous “Mondays with Mary” that have focused particularly on this very subject. It’s my hope that you can share this post as well as the previous posts on your social media sites as well as with your family and friends.

1. “Mondays with Mary” – Mary in the Old Testament , Part 1

2. “Mondays with Mary” – Mary in the Old Testament, Part 2

3. “Mondays with Mary” – Mary in the Old Testament, Part 3

4. “Mondays with Mary” – The Esheth Yahil (Woman of Valor)

5. “Mondays with Mary” – Mary in the New Testament, Part 1

6. “Mondays with Mary” – Mary in the New Testament, Part 2

7. “Mondays with Mary” – Mary, the New Ark of the Covenant

8. “Mondays with Mary”- Mary the Word of God