Why did Mary choose to follow her Son to Calvary?
There is a pain that a mother experiences when she perceives that her child is suffering. It forges a bond of love between the two. It is as if the mother says: “You are inextricably part of who I am. I will share this burden with you to alleviate your suffering.”
Many mothers can relate to this painful experience. How much more can be said of the Mother of God when she saw her Divine Son on the road to Calvary. The link that united Mother and Son naturally caused pangs that pierced her heart upon seeing her Son in such a horrible state.
She saw Him hated, scourged, bleeding, weary, weeping and trembling under His enormous burden. Saint Peter of Alcantara stated that approaching her Son on the road to Calvary filled her with love and fear at seeing Him suffer.
If this caused her great suffering, why did she choose to follow her Son to Calvary?
She suffered yet more by seeing her Son languishing under the weight of the Cross. She was unable to help Him. Moreover, she realized all the while that Christ’s suffering was only going to reach its atrocious height at the Crucifixion.
She saw the mockeries and humiliations that were directed at her Son. One can well imagine that wicked souls recognized her maternal affection and likely tormented her with scorn and mockery.
So why did she choose to follow her Son?
Could she not offer prayers in private, away from the distracting humiliation that surrounded the scene? After all, this was the greatest sacrilege in history: the God-Man was bruised, stripped naked and crucified with sinners.
She was there to console Our Lord when and where He was most offended. She was completely innocent yet she was determined to suffer with Him.
She shunned the cowardice of the apostles at that time. We can imagine them praying in private on Good Friday. They did this even after the Resurrection.
The flight and absence of almost all the apostles during the Passion must have saddened Our Lord. The sad reality was that only Saint John was present at the Crucifixion.
The only proper response to the outrage against Our Lord was this public prayer next to Him. Her presence at Calvary was to console Our Lord before all those who tormented Him in public.
And Our Lord longed for that consolation, for it was written: And I looked for one that would grieve together with me, but there was none: and for one that would comfort me, and I found none. (Ps. 68:20)
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When the sin is public, as the Crucifixion was public, should we not make public reparation?
We have countless examples of grave offenses against Our Lord directly. This can be seen in the many disgusting blasphemies, sacrileges and insults committed against Him. Any devout soul should naturally feel inclined to seek to make reparation.
In Our Lady, we have an admirable example to follow. To suffer like her is to suffer with Christ when He is most offended, making reparation for the outrages committed against Him and taking on some of these sufferings ourselves to the degree possible.
And if we cannot suffer as a mother for her son, we can at least suffer as faithful children for Holy Mother Church like Saint John and the others at the foot of the Cross.