When the torturers struck the transcendental God who became immanent in creation, the suffering dealt was not only for the person of Jesus. With every lash of the whip, two lashes were felt. Every thorn was felt twice. Nails pierced four hands, and four feet as well. “Every blow rending the body of the son had its cruel echo in the heart of his Mother.” St. Bonaventure exclaims, “Why wouldst thou, most honored Lady, be immolated for us? Is not our Savior’s passion sufficient for our salvation?” (1)
Yet, as she has revealed in recent centuries, her suffering did not stop there. In light of numerous mystical writings and apparitions, we could now rightly echo Bonaventure and say, why wouldst thou, most honored Lady, continue to suffer for us? Is not our Savior’s passion sufficient? Is not your earthly suffering sufficient?
How can Mary behold the face of God and suffer in her body-soul perfection? Does that not seem contrary to our notion of the beatific vision? What of God’s promise that “he will wipe away every tear from their eyes, and death shall be no more, neither shall there be mourning nor crying nor pain any more”? (2) Is it even possible for a creature who has attained the fullness of unity with the Most High to experience privation in suffering? Perhaps the denial of Mary’s mystical suffering has an element of fear in its theological and philosophical debate. It just doesn’t seem right that she should continue to suffer. But that’s the whole point: It’s not right that she should continue to suffer!
Ah, but the first heaven and the first earth have not passed away as yet; they have not become the former things. (3)
And so we hear the words of the child Jesus in a vision to Sr. Lucia in Spain in 1925: “Have compassion on the Heart of your most holy mother, covered with thorns, with which ungrateful men pierce it at every moment, and there is no one to make an act of reparation to remove them”. (4) Following the Child’s words, the Blessed Mother reiterated in the apparition:
Look, my daughter, at my Heart, surrounded with thorns with which ungrateful men pierce me at every moment by their blasphemies and ingratitude. You at least try to console me, and say that I promise to assist at the hour of death, with the graces necessary for salvation, all those who, on the first Saturday of five consecutive months shall confess, receive Holy Communion, recite five decades of the Rosary, and keep me company for fifteen minutes while meditating on the fifteen mysteries of the Rosary, with the intention of making reparation to me (5).
It is impossible to disregard the Blessed Mother’s words here. Most Catholics would probably say they love Mary. Love involves compassion. If we have true love for Mary, we should be somewhat wounded by these words. Mary’s suffering is not something fanciful. It’s not some sort of motherly guilt trip she has laid upon us to get her children in line. This is clearly not a reference to her suffering at Calvary.
Mary says “at every moment.” She suffers here and now.
She approaches the throne of grace incessantly for us, mediating grace for us. And she suffers with God for the salvation of the most souls possible. Her suffering is real, and she suffers with God. If we are going to honor our heavenly Father and Mother, this is something we should take seriously.