I awoke early – too early – this morning around 4am. It was raining and what a blessing that was! I didn’t expect it to rain, in fact, I haven’t watched the weather for a while. This time of year it is unlikely that we will have rain. But rain it did – about one third of an inch. Afterwards I could not fall back asleep, even though I really tried. I started to pray a rosary, as that usually relaxes me and stops my mind from thinking all kind of things. It didn’t work this morning.
Wednesday is the day when we should pray the Glorious Mysteries – the first one is the Resurrection of our Lord. My mind began to wander, and I started thinking of that final day of Mary’s Son’s life – how difficult it must have been for Mary. The Bible tells us that Mary followed Jesus as He carried the cross, that she stood near Him as He was crucified. I cannot imagine the pain she must have felt, to see her Son suffer as He did. She must have felt so helpless.
I know some of that feeling, for I started thinking then about when Erin’s boyfriend committed suicide – how Larry and I did everything we knew how to do to protect her, knowing that we couldn’t feel her pain, that we couldn’t suffer for her though we would have preferred that – that we could only watch. As a parent watching your child suffer is the worst thing in the world – to just stand by and watch as someone you love more than life itself goes through grief, anxiety and pain. The prophesy of Simeon which had been stated at the Presentation of Jesus had come true for Mary – a sword did pierce Mary’s heart!
We don’t see Mary in the Bible again until Pentecost, and after that event she is missing from its pages. What happened to Mary between the time that St. John took her to his home and the day of Pentecost? Mary was present during those three excruciating hours as her Son suffered and died. She must have held Him in her arms when His Body was taken down from the cross. Did she witness where Joseph of Arimathea buried Him? The Bible says that Mary Magdalen and the other Mary ( of Cleopas) watched as He was buried, as the stone was rolled in front of the tomb. Was Mary the Mother of Jesus there too? Or had John already taken her away?
Mary would have been exhausted with grief. One can only cry so much, and then the body fails and one must sleep and then wake again to grieve some more. Her Son’s Blood was on her hands and her clothes. Would Mary have washed her hands or her clothes? That Blood was the last piece of her Son, the last memory she had of Him. Would she have wanted to keep that Blood forever? She had an inner strength and faith that I don’t have – perhaps she was able to give all that pain and confusion to God, knowing that His Will was all that was important.
Or did Mary know that Jesus would rise again? As a bride of the Holy Spirit was Mary privy to some information that an ordinary person wouldn’t have? God treasured Mary – that is why He asked her to carry and give birth to His Son. Did Jesus speak with Mary about what His life and later His death would be? Did she know that in a few days she would see her Son again? Or was she like the rest of humankind, grieving for the loss of a child or loved one, wanting to be where He was, wishing that Her life would end so she wouldn’t have to feel the pain anymore?
I know that grief too – the kind of heart wrenching grief that takes away one’s breath, for I felt it when my dad died. It was a long time before it went away, or perhaps more accurately, before I put it away, so I could go on living.
Those days that Jesus was in the tomb – was Mary alone? Did she spend her time in prayer? Did her friends come to comfort her? But then what does someone say to you if you have lost your child? We are told that the Apostles were in hiding. Would they have dared to go to John’s house to visit Mary, to comfort her in her loss? What could they say after they had abandoned Him in the garden?
Did Jesus come to Mary on that Resurrection morning? Though the Bible doesn’t say, my heart says “yes”. The bond they had – the bond between a mother and a child – it could not be broken.
So many questions that will remain unanswered perhaps forever.