The connection of the Lenten Season with Mary is not always obvious. The Stations of the Cross and Sorrowful Mysteries of the Holy Rosary give us insight of the Passion of Jesus Christ through the eyes of Mary.
During the Lenten Season, Mary is an ideal companion for us, since it is in this penitential season that she places her special role as the shelter of sinners and comforter of the afflicted. Since we are now in the First Week of Lent, I encourage you to focus your hearts and minds to the contemplation of the Passion and Death of Jesus Christ, most especially in the Stations of the Cross.
Mary, as our guide through Lent helps us search for Jesus. She then leads us directly to the cross on Calvary, and while at the cross, we are then given to Mary and she is given to us through the St. John the Apostle.
In order to help us understand the Lenten themes with Mary as our guide, we turn our attention to the great Polish Pope and Saint of the 20th century – Pope St. John Paul II. In the document, Redemptoris Mater (Mother of the Redeemer), he says –
“At the foot of the Cross Mary shares through faith in the shocking mystery of this self-emptying. This is perhaps the deepest “kenosis” of faith in human history. Through faith the Mother shares in the death of her Son, in his redeeming death; but in contrast with the faith of the disciples who fled, hers was far more enlightened. On Golgotha, Jesus through the Cross definitively confirmed that he was the “sign of contradiction” foretold by Simeon. At the same time, there were also fulfilled on Golgotha the words which Simeon had addressed to Mary: “and a sword will pierce through your own soul also.”
During this Lenten Season, and as our guide, Mary shows us by her example how to self-empty ourselves to Jesus on the cross.. As co-heirs in Christ’s salvation, we take part in emptying ourselves of our sins and focusing our attention back on him and back to the cross.
As our guide through Lent, Mary also shows to us what it is to have great faith. We see her faith first at the Annunciation where she willingly accepts the invitation of the Divine Angel to be the Mother of the Savior. We also see Mary’s great faith at the cross where she says “Yes” again to death of her son. Even though the majority of the apostles ran in fear, Our Lady, along with the other women (and St. John) stood at the foot of cross in great faith.
Furthermore, John Paul II states –
“Living side by side with her Son under the same roof, and faithfully preserving ‘in her union with her Son’ she advanced in her pilgrimage of faith,”…by “suffering deeply with her only-begotten Son and joining herself with her maternal spirit to his sacrifice, lovingly consenting to the immolation of the victim to whom she had given birth,” in this way Mary “faithfully preserved her union with her Son even to the Cross.” It is a union through faith- the same faith with which she had received the angel’s revelation at the Annunciation.”
As Mary (and St. Joseph) searched for Jesus and found him in Temple, in Lent, we search more diligently for Jesus with Mary. The more we follow Jesus, with the assistance of the Blessed Mother; we too will increase in faith, spiritual wisdom, and charity for all.