Join Our Lady at the foot of the Cross

Mary did not run away from the Cross, nor did she fall down and lose all her strength. She remained faithful to the “fiat” that she had pronounced at the Annunciation throughout her whole life, doing whatever the Father asked her to do, especially in suffering with her Son.

By Br. Jacob, MIC

An early Superior General of the Marian Congregation, Ven. Casimir Wyszynski (1700-1755), stated that “We glorify Mary most perfectly by getting to know and trying to grasp her virtues described in the Gospels, and above all by imitating them” (Morning Star, 18). He believed that Marian devotion culminates in imitation of Our Lady and her virtues, especially those observed in the Gospels. She is the one who most fully followed Jesus, and as we live this penitential season of Lent, she shows us the way that we can follow Him.

If all Marian devotion culminates in imitation of Mary, then we could also say that all imitation of Mary culminates in imitating her standing at the foot of the Cross. While almost everyone else left Jesus to suffer alone on the Cross, Mary was among the few faithful disciples who remained with Him in His suffering and death. 

Mother of Martyrs
In his April 2, 1997 general audience, Pope St. John Paul II reflected on Mary standing at the foot of the Cross. He said, “By using the verb ‘to stand,’ which literally means ‘to be on one’s feet,’ ‘to stand erect,’ perhaps the Evangelist intends to present the dignity and strength shown in their sorrow by Mary and the other women.” 

Mary did not run away from the Cross, nor did she fall down and lose all her strength. Jesus carried out the Father’s will — “your will be done” (Mt 26:42) — by submitting to His Passion and death on the Cross; Mary carried out the Father’s will — “may it be done to me according to your word” (Lk 1:36) — when she stood at the foot of the Cross and suffered with her Son.

Mary remained faithful to the “fiat” that she had pronounced at the Annunciation throughout her whole life, doing whatever the Father asked her to do, especially in suffering with her Son.

As St. John Paul explained in his general audience, by standing at the foot of the Cross, Mary offered her Son to the Father and also united herself to her Son, even sacrificing herself. This is why we can call Mary “Queen of Martyrs.” She was not physically killed at Calvary, but so fully united herself to Jesus’ sacrifice on the Cross that she had the spirit of a martyr.

I believe that this is why Mary, and also St. John, did not die as martyrs: When they remained faithful to Jesus at the foot of the Cross, the Blessed Virgin and St. John the Apostle had already suffered as much as (or even more than) the Christian martyrs do.

Join Our Lady
We can join Mary in offering her Son to the Father, and in uniting the offering of ourselves to Christ’s self-sacrifice, by praying the Divine Mercy Chaplet. In the Chaplet, we pray, “Eternal Father, I offer you the Body and Blood, soul and Divinity of Your dearly beloved Son, Our Lord, Jesus Christ, in atonement for our sins and those of the whole world.” In praying this prayer, we offer Jesus in the Eucharist to the Father in atonement for our sins.

In paragraph 684 of her Diary, St. Faustina writes, “At the moment of Consecration, love rested satiated — the sacrifice fully consummated. Now only the external ceremony of death will be carried out — external destruction.” 

So whenever we pray the Divine Mercy Chaplet, we can imagine ourselves standing with Mary at the foot of the Cross, offering Jesus to the Father.

Mass offering
We can also think about Jesus suffering on the Cross and Mary standing there when the priest consecrates the Body and Blood of Jesus during the Mass. We all participate in the baptismal priesthood, and can take part in offering Jesus to the Father during the Mass through devout prayer and attention. We are also called to offer ourselves to the Father with Jesus, just as Mary did.

No matter what crosses God puts in our lives during this penitential season of Lent, we can gaze upon Mary and imitate her in standing at the foot of Jesus’ Cross. We can learn to stand strong in our own sufferings by the grace of God, and trust in the Providence of God to guide us and work things out for the good. 

Our Lady, Queen of Martyrs, pray for us!
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BELH

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