The premonition that Simeon made to the Blessed Virgin Mary when she presented her tender son in the temple, 40 days after birth, “a sword will pierce your soul,” has its fulfillment in the life of Mary Most Holy at the culminating moment of Jesus’ life on this earth; his death on Calvary. Mary, his mother, was there, accompanying and suffering the death throes of that cruel death to tear her soul or “pierce her soul” as Simeon had said.
How comforting it was for Jesus to know that his mother was there with him; that she never left him alone, especially in that event of his life. How painful and hard it was for the mother to see her Son dying, the innocent, the righteous. As a mother, she could not miss it.
Jesus dying on the cross has offered the unique and definitive sacrifice.
The Savior’s sacrifice that has forgiven all the sins of all men; that is the meaning we have given to the death of Christ. The death He has offered on the Cross. Being present and sharing the sufferings and pains, His mother has also offered an immense sacrifice, not bloody, not infringed, but real.
She is a mother who watches her son die, she suffers with him all scorn and scourges all the pain that they cause to her Son. That is why some have proposed to give the title of Co-Redemptrix to Mary. It is only a proposal.
Mary on Calvary like the new Eve, shares the birth of the new humanity because Jesus by dying so bloody and by offering his life, has forgiven all sins, and thus begets the new humanity; the new creature. Mary is the representative of that new creature; she is the mother who will accompany the new creation. A particular moment of this sacrifice is represented by the sword that wants to seal and corroborate that Christ has died. The Gospel of St. John adds: “Blood and water flowed from his side,” and the holy fathers interpret this water and this blood with the birth of the Church; the new humanity, since they represent the sacraments with which we enter to form part of the redeemed Church.
A Church rebuilt by Christ through his sacrifice. Mary is on the cross like Eve before the tree of paradise to share the salvation obtained in the tree of the cross, and to become the mother of the new creation. She was also accompanied by John and some women.
And to corroborate the motherhood of the new creation, Mary will be accompanying the apostles on Pentecost, which is an event that will be the hallmark of the constitution of the Church; a sign and bearer of the new creation. Mary was with the apostles on Pentecost.
Mary on Calvary will also live the closeness and solidarity with her son, like all the mothers of this world who are always sharing the sufferings of their children. Mary represents that responsible mother who is close to her son because she loves him.
Mary is a symbol of the suffering mothers. Humanly, we know what pain means, the confrontation of that reality so typical of the human being, but when we have someone close to us when we are suffering, his or her presence serves as a soothing balm to that pain.
Mary on Calvary is the mother in pain; the mother who tears her heart. Mary shares the suffering of humanity, because she shares the suffering of her Son; the Redeemer of humanity.
That is why we Christians go to Mary so many times, especially in times of pain and suffering, because we know that she knows how to pity, because she has been close to her Son on the Cross and knows about pain. That is why Mary becomes our “cloth of tears,” because she has experienced extreme pain. That is why she understands us and knows how to sympathize with Christians. That is why throughout the centuries, Christianity has placed its trust and sufferings in Mary’s hands.
Mary’s extreme pain on Calvary was when she received the dead body of Jesus in her arms. The artists wanted to highlight this moment, like Michelangelo’s exalted work: “La Pieta.” What a great pain, her Son has been taken away from her. She would review all life’s moments with her son, especially when she took him in her arms, as she does now, but she smiled at him, and she caressed him and soothed herself with her Son.
Now, on the other hand, he was dead. She takes him in her arms as the priest takes the host in his hands and offers it to God the Father to give fulfillment to the sacrifice that Jesus made on the Cross. The angel’s announcement to Mary, “You will have a Son,” at this moment, she has finished, now He is the Son of God. Mary gives Him to the Father “as an offering and victim of a soft smell.” –
Mary is the mother of Jesus, the mother of who is a priest and victim; Mary accompanying her Son to the cross, and on Calvary receiving him in her arms, she makes that offering to the Father. She represents the Church, and from that moment, the Church will continue to offer the sacrifice of Jesus. That is why Mary is mentioned in the Eucharistic Prayer, because she has first offered her Son to the Father.
Mary on Calvary, at the foot of the Cross represented all of us. She always accompanies us in our sufferings that arise in the life of each one of us. Mary, the Virgin of Calvary, animates us always in our daily life, in our Christian walk.