Simeon said to the Virgin: “This child is destined for the fall and rise of many in Israel, and to be a sign that will be opposed, so that the secret thoughts of many will be revealed, and you yourself a sword will pierce.” (Luke 2:34-35)
V. We adore you, O Christ, and we praise you:
R. Because by your holy cross you have redeemed the world.
As Christ made his way through the city, tradition has it that he briefly met his mother along the way. Her presence at his Passion had been prophesied long ago, when she had presented Jesus at the Temple as a baby. There an elderly man named Simeon had foretold that one day, the Virgin’s heart would be pierced through with a sword of grief.
Seeing her beloved Son badly injured, humiliated and struggling under the weight of the cross must have been a terrible sight. Experiencing the intense grief prophesied by Simeon, she became a role model of what it means to be have compassion for Christ. The word ‘compassion’ comes from the Latin word ‘compassio’, which means ‘to suffer with’.
On this note, St Paul taught that the Church is the body of Christ – and that as such, we all share each other’s joys and sorrows. As he put it: “If one member suffers, all suffer together with it.” (1 Corinthians 12:26) Mary shared in Christ’s sufferings, and he in hers. In the same way, they both suffer with us – and we with them.
O Jesus, as I contemplate your journey to the cross, fill my heart with compassion for you. Look upon my own sufferings and forgive me all my sins. (Psalm 25:18) O Mother of Sorrows, be my refuge in affliction, my comfort in suffering and my help in all my trials.
Sign from the Old Testament
The Second Book of Maccabees tells us about a mother of seven sons, who bravely witnessed their torture and death before being put to death herself. (2 Maccabees 7:1-42)
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Unknown artist and date / Fourth Station of the Cross / Wood carving / Chapel of Reconciliation, Catholic Shrine of Our Lady of Walsingham, Norfolk