Continuing with our examination of the Seven Sorrows of Mary, which are meditated in the Rosary of the Mater Dolorosa, today we discuss The Encounter of Jesus with His Blessed Mother as He Carries the Cross.
Even though this is not specifically revealed to us in the Sacred Scriptures, however, through the Tradition of the Church and private revelations, we have an understanding that this event did occur on the way to Calvary. In the devotional known as the Stations of the Cross, this is the fourth station – Jesus Meets His Blessed Mother. The Stations of the Cross are the fourteen stations that Catholics can pray throughout the year, especially during the Season of Lent, which focuses on Christ’s Way of the Cross. Although prayers for each station differ from different Stations of the Cross devotionals as a collective whole, the prayer that I have for the fourth station is the following –
How painful was Thine encounter with Thy Blessed Mother in this way of bitter sorrow! Thy gaze was like another sword that pierced Mary’s heart. My Lord, grant me the grace to obtain true devotion to the Mater Dolorosa!
Although we can never completely replicate the terrible images that Mary witnessed as she watched her Son, our Savior, Jesus Christ be led to die, we do have a faint understanding. Our Lord was Jesus Christ was beaten to a pulp – blood pouring forth from all parts of his body, a crown of thorns hammered into his skull, his back and chest shredded from the flogging at the pillar, and on top of this, he was forced to carry a cross that would push him to the brink of death, even before he arrived at Calvary.
All the events leading up to the Death of Jesus on the Cross bring great sorrow to the Blessed Mother, but it was this encounter that made Mary’s heart suffer the most. In the private revelations made to St. Bridget of Sweden from Mary herself, she said that she knew where Christ had carried the cross since “by the footsteps of my Son, I knew where he had passed, for along the ground was marked with blood.”
In his Meditations on the Stations of the Cross from Good Friday 2003, Pope St. John Paul II said,
“The Mother. Mary meets her Son along the way of the Cross. His Cross becomes her Cross, his humiliation is her humiliation, the public scorn is on her shoulders. This is the way things are. So it must seem to the people around her, and this is how her own heart reacts: “And a sword will pierce through your soul also” (Lk 2:35). The words spoken when Jesus was forty days old are now fulfilled. They are now completely fulfilled. And so, pierced by that invisible sword, Mary sets out towards her Son’s Calvary, her own Calvary. Christian devotion represents her with this sword penetrating her heart, in paintings and sculpture. Mother of sorrows!”
To conclude, if you like, watch the video clip below from Mel Gibson’s, The Passion of the Christ. It is in this film that we see visually what theologians and saints have explained to us in the encounter between Jesus and Mary on His way to Golgotha. This scene was also taken from book – The Dolorous Passion of Our Lord Jesus Christ, visions made known to Sister Anne Catherine Emmerich, a 19th century German mystic and nun. Along with the Sacred Scriptures, it was with this text that Mel Gibson developed his 2004 Drama on the Passion, Death, and Crucifixion of Jesus Christ.
Our Catholic Prayers Website – http://www.ourcatholicprayers.com/the-fourth-sorrow.html Excessed site on August 9, 2015.
Prayers. Miles Christi Religious Order. 2013.