DAILY CATHOLIC         April 1-3, 1999     vol. 10, no. 64


To print out entire text of Today's issue, go to SECTION ONE and SECTION TWO and SECTION THREE
          Pat Ludwa, a committed lay Catholic from Cleveland, has been asked to contribute, on a regular basis, a lay person's point of view on the Church today. We have been impressed with his insight and the clear logic he brings to the table from his "view from the pew." In all humility, by his own admission, he feels he has very little to offer, but we're sure you'll agree with us that his viewpoint is exactly what millions of the silent majority of Catholics believe and have been trying to say as well. Pat puts it in words that help all of us better understand and convey to others what the Church teaches and we must believe.

          Today, in commemoration of Holy Week and the Easter Triduum, Pat walks with Mary, discerning what she must have felt and knew in her heart. It is a vivid reminder that we, too, must be willing to bear all for her Divine Son so that we can be counted among the victorious on the glorious day of our resurrection.

A Mother's Passion

      (I want to preface this by stating this is pure speculation. A meditation)

      "...and Simeon blessed them and said to Mary his mother, 'Behold, this child is set for the fall and rising of many in Israel, and for a sign that is spoken against (and a sword will pierce through your own soul also), that thoughts out of many hearts may be revealed'" (Luke 2:34-35).

      Maybe Mary recalled this as she made her way toward Jerusalem for the Passover. Maybe she was recalling an earlier journey... "Now his parents went to Jerusalem every year at the feast of the Passover. And when he was twelve years old, they went up according to custom; and when the feast was ended, as they were returning, the boy Jesus stayed behind in Jerusalem" (Luke 2:41-43).

      He said He must be about His Father's work, she recalled. She knew then that this work entailed more than just teaching, than just performing miracles. She heard the stories of His triumphant entry into Jerusalem. However, these didn't fill her with joy. She knew public acclamation wasn't what He was here for. As she drew near to Jerusalem, her heart begins to feel heavy.

      When she entered Jerusalem, her heart feels the first of many swords. Her Son is the talk of the town. "Oh you poor souls", she must say to herself. "How fickle you are. In just one week you rejoice at His coming to you in triumphant, and now you rejoice at his arrest."

      As she listens to the talk, she hears how He has been treated. Temple guards boasting of how silent He was when they struck Him, pulled His beard from His face. " I gave my back to the smiters, and my cheeks to those who pulled out the beard; I hid not my face from shame and spitting" (Isaiah 50:6).

"They answered, 'He deserves death.' Then they spat in His face, and struck Him; and some slapped Him, saying, 'Prophesy to us, you Christ! Who is it that struck You?'" (Matthew 26:66-68).

      Her heart nears breaking as she hears how Pilate had Him scourged, and how, somehow, He survived this. So terrible was scourging that it was against Roman law to scourge a Roman citizen. In fact, most died from the punishment.

      Coming to a crowd near the city center, she hears an uproar. Getting closer, she sees her Son standing beside Pilate. Her beloved Son is so badly beaten as to be almost unrecognizable. A mockery of kingship. A crown made of thorns, a scepter made of a reed, a horse's blanket for a 'royal' robe. As she draws nearer, she hears how Pilate wishes to release Him. She knows this won't happen. Her heart goes into even greater sorrow. " Pilate sought to release Him, but the Jews cried out, 'If you release this man, you are not Caesar's friend; every one who makes himself a king sets himself against Caesar.' When Pilate heard these words, he brought Jesus out and sat down on the judgment seat at a place called The Pavement, and in Hebrew, Gabbatha. Now it was the day of Preparation of the Passover; it was about the sixth hour. He said to the Jews, 'Behold your King!' They cried out, 'Away with Him, away with Him, crucify Him!' Pilate said to them, 'Shall I crucify your King?' The chief priests answered, 'We have no king but Caesar.' Then he handed Him over to them to be crucified" (John 19: 12-16).

      Her heart sinks further. Not only for her Son, but also for these, her other sons and daughters. She hears the rumor that one of her Son's followers, the one who betrayed Him, has committed suicide. "Oh my little one, why did you despair of the mercy of God?" She is near tears to think of a lost soul.

      Making her way through the crowds, she finally reaches the way her Son will come. Seeing Him she approaches. For some reason, the Romans do not stop her. She looks at her Son. Tears begin to well up in her eyes. There are no words, none are needed. She comforts Him as best she can. As a mother she is near death in sorrow. As a daughter, she is overjoyed as to their approaching deliverance. She tries to give Him what strength she can for the rest of His journey.

      She follows Him on His way to execution. Along the way, she is met by His Apostle John. John holds her up, comforts her. Lends his support. As she leaves the city, she sees the Romans raise her Son high over the earth. The Lamb of God is sacrificed for His people, here for all the world to see and acclaim.

      "Take a bunch of hyssop and dip it in the blood which is in the basin, and touch the lintel and the two doorposts with the blood which is in the basin; and when he sees the blood on the lintel and on the two doorposts, the LORD will pass over the door, and will not allow the destroyer to enter your houses to slay you" (Exodus 12:22; 23). The wetting of the lintel and two door posts forms a cross.

      Mary watches in the greatest sorrow as even in death, her Son is abused. Not content with His death, she watches as a soldier thrusts his spear point into His side and water and blood spill out. (Plasma and whole blood). As the spear enters His side, she feels it enter hers.

      Finally, He is removed from the cross. Her sorrow is beyond measure. She watched each step of the way with Him. Felt every blow, every spit, every fall, every nail, every lance.

      "O Lord, in Whose passion, according to the prophecy of Simeon, a sword of sorrow pierced the sweet soul of Mary, mother and virgin, grant, that by the glorious merits and prayers of all the saints who stood faithfully by the cross, we may experience the happy effects of Thy passion. Who livest and reignest forever and ever. Amen" (Prayer in Honor of Our Sorrowful Mother)

      On the morning of the third day, a curious thing. "And when the sabbath was past, Mary Magdalene, and Mary the mother of James, and Salome, bought spices, so that they might go and anoint Him. And very early on the first day of the week they went to the tomb when the sun had risen" (Mark 16:1-2).

      Where was Mary His mother? Surely she would go with them to anoint her son? Surely she would want to make sure He was properly anointed and for one last look. Where was Mary?

      There is no need for he to be there. She knows He is not there. No angel need tell her, no one need tell her the body is gone. She knows.

    "Queen of heaven, Rejoice, Alleluia.
    For He Whom thou didst deserve to bear, Alleluia
    Has risen as he said, Alleluia.
    Pray for us to God, Alleluia.
    Rejoice and be glad, O Virgin Mary!
    Because our Lord is truly risen, Alleluia.
    O God, Who by the resurrection of Thy Son, Our Lord Jesus Christ, has vouchsafed to make glad the whole world, grant, we beseech Thee, that, through the intercession of the Virgin Mary, His mother, we may attain the joys of eternal life. Through the same Christ our Lord. Amen."

      Happy Easter. May the peace of Christ, that only He can give, be with you all and yours. Now and forever.

    Pax Christi, Pat

April 1-3, 1999       volume 10, no. 64


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