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.”
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.
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.