As the adorable heart of our Savior was on fire with infinite love for His most holy Mother, the anguish which He bore in seeing her plunged into a sea of sorrow at the time of His Passion was beyond the power of human word or thought. The Blessed Virgin was the Mother of our Redeemer and she ever sustained in her heart an unceasing combat of love. She knew that it was God’s will that her Beloved Son should suffer and die to save souls. Thus her most ardent love for that divine will and for the salvation of souls placed her in utter submission to the commands of God. Her incomparable motherly love for her dear Son, however, caused her unspeakable sorrow, in view of the torments that He was to suffer to redeem the world.
The saints teach that, when the day of His Passion had come, in accordance with the loving obedience with which He always honored His holy Mother, and the goodness He always showed in consoling His friends in their affliction, He took leave of His dear Mother before the beginnings of His sufferings. To do all things out of obedience to the will of His Father and His Mother, since she had not a will different from the Father’s, He asked permission of her to carry out what His Eternal Father had commanded Him. He told her that it was the Will of the Father that she should accompany Him to the foot of the Cross and that, after His death, she should wrap His body in a shroud and place it in the tomb. The saints also teach that He commanded her what to do and where to remain until His resurrection.
It is also possible that He revealed to her what He had to suffer, as much to prepare her as to encourage her to accompany Him in His sufferings. Because their interior sorrows were unutterable, they did not declare them to each other in words; their eyes met and their Hearts understood their mutual afflictions. The most perfect love of both and their entire conformity to the divine will did not permit any imperfection in their natural feelings. On the one hand, the Savior being the Only Son of His beloved Mother felt very keenly her sorrows; but, on the other, being her God and willing to fortify her in the greatest sorrow ever borne by a human being, He consoled her by His divine words, which she heard and kept carefully in her Heart. He poured an abundance of new grace into her soul so that she might endure and overcome the exceedingly terrible sorrows prepared for her. These sorrows were so great that if it had been possible and fitting for her to suffer in place of her Son, it would have been easier for her to do so. Her torments would thus have been much more bearable than the sight of her Son’s Passion. It would have been infinitely preferable for her to give her life for Him than to watch Him suffer such dreadful tortures. Since God had willed otherwise, she offered her Heart and Jesus gave His body, so that each should suffer what God had ordained. Mary had to suffer all the torments of her Son in her extremely sensitive Heart; Jesus had to endure in His body inexplicable torments and in His Heart the inconceivable sufferings of His holy Mother.
When He had taken leave of His Mother, the Savior plunged Himself into the immense ocean of His sorrows, and His desolate Mother accompanied Him in spirit as she remained in constant prayer. Thus that sad day began for her with prayers, tears, inner agonies, and a most perfect submission to the divine will, as she uttered in the depths of her Heart what her Son said to His Father in the Garden of Olives: “Father, not my will but thine be done” (Lk 22:42). The night that our Redeemer was seized in the Garden of Olives, the Jews led Him, bound and manacled, first to the House of Annas, then to that of Caiphas, where, weary of mocking and insulting Him, they kept Him a prisoner until the next day.
St. John the Evangelist also left the house of Caiphas, whether by an order from our Savior or by some divine inspiration, and went to the house of the Blessed Virgin to inform her of what had taken place. Who, O my God, could express the grief and sorrow of the Mother of Jesus as His beloved disciple recounted what had happened since the opening events of the Passion? Surely the feelings and the griefs of them both were such that whatever one might say of them would be as naught compared with the reality. They conversed more with their hearts than with their tongues, more with tears than with words, particularly the Blessed Virgin, whose grief was so intense that she could give no outward expression to it. Later, when the time came to accompany her Only Son to Calvary, she set out at daybreak in silence, even as her Divine Son, her Lamb, took up His Cross without a word. She bathed the way with her tears and her Heart set up a thousand ardent sighs to heaven. Let the devout followers of this sorrowing Virgin henceforth gladly pursue a way whereby they can accompany her in her sorrows.
he Jews led the Savior to the house of Pilate and Herod, with every sort of insult and shame, but His sad Mother could not see Him because of the multitude and the noise of the people, until that moment when Pilate, after the scourging and the crowning of thorns, showed Him to the populace. Then it was that she heard the voices of the rabble, the uproar of the city, the insults vomited forth against Her Son, the outrages done Him, the blasphemies flung at Him. Her heart underwent immeasurable suffering and her eyes streamed with tears: “Let your tears flow like a torrent” (Lam 2:18). As she had placed all her love in Him, she desired His presence above all else, even though it mist have afflicted her the most, for love can be so ardent that it endures much less the absence of the object loved than the pain caused by the beloved’s presence, however great the pain.
In all this bitterness and anguish, passing all imagination, this innocent Mother aspired to the sight of her Divine Son. Finally she saw Him all torn from head to foot with whips. His sacred head was pierced with cruel thorns, His adorable face bruised, swollen, stained with blood and spittle. With a rope around His neck and His hands bound, He wore the scarlet robe of mockery. Well did He know that His sorrowful Mother was there; and she, too, knew full well that His divine majesty read die feelings of her Heart, which was pierced with sorrows not inferior to those He bore in his own body. There she heard the false testimony given against Him; she heard them prefer Barrabas, a thief and a murderer. She heard thousands of voices shouting in anger: “Away with him! Away with him! Crucify him!” (Jn 19:15). She heard the cruel and unjust sentence pronounced against the Author of life. She saw upraised the Cross, on which they were to crucify Him; she saw Him bearing it on His shoulders and beginning His march to Calvary. She followed his bloodstained footsteps and washed the way with as many tears as He shed drops of blood; and she bore inwardly the burden of the Cross, as heavy upon her heart as upon His shoulders.