“What if there was no light
Nothing wrong, nothing right”
This morning I woke up thinking about the crucifixion. Not about the blood or the torment or the suffering of Jesus, but of His mother. I read a devotion which prompted me to think about her anguish at the cross. Our minds tend to focus on the obvious, unless we go deeper into ourselves, unfamiliar territory within us, uncomfortable places where we are unwilling to go.
There is much debate about the crucifixion of Jesus, even more about whether those of us who are believers look up at a pulpit or altar or center area and see a crucifix or an empty cross. As a Catholic, I stare at the crucifix every Sunday, debate it, contemplate it, try and some way get my head around it.
But as for the many hours I have sat there with tears or joy or whatever I am feeling, staring up at the crucified body of Jesus has never had me think of Mary, until today. Until my mind was stirred with images of her at the foot of the cross, her son hanging there. I imagine she did not understand what was happening. I am sure she was confused and unsure. I am pretty positive she felt completely alone. But whether we contemplate the physicality of the corpus or the empty cross, we cannot gently skip over Mary at the cross.
I imagine her looking up and saying, “Why God why? Why me? Why now? Maybe she pleaded with God. I know she felt tortured and was in pain and yearning to understand God’s plan. In the universality of it all, Mary at the cross becomes us, take us over and sets the stage for us at the foot of the cross, pleading with God to end the pain, and the suffering and the torture of the moment. We are there with her, pleading with God, begging God, unable to break through to the other side.
Sometimes it is through imagery that we are drawn into the supernatural. When God can place us in the book, not outside the book. When we can enter His words rather than just read them. When we take them with us down to the ground on our knees rather than zip them up. Sometimes we just need to be there, like Mary, in those moments, succumbing when we don’t understand, but nevertheless being there and not letting go of Him until we make it to the other side.
Sometimes words on a page are not enough for me, as I am sure they weren’t enough for her. I could look up and feel her. It was as if God had me down on the ground, in the dirt, looking up from her perspective. I wanted to kneel next to her and tell her it was going to be o.k. But in that moment, I knew just to kneel, to feel, to look up from her perspective, not my own. He was not my son…
When I left for mass this morning, I could not get that image out of my head. When I kneeled for silent prayer, I couldn’t look at the crucifix the same. I imagined I was her, looking up at Him. I imagined how that would feel. It gave me a new and completely different perspective, one I could not have imagined or seen before. And then I thought of all the people hurting like Mary was hurting, looking at God. Maybe instead of shoving words in their face that are bound to fall on deaf ears it was time to just kneel with them, to see the cross from their perspective instead of my own. It was what God wanted. Let go of myself, the world is hurting.
One slight change in perspective can change things for us. When we are seeking so outside of our own selves, when we will stop at nothing to find him.
“And he said to this disciple, “Here is your mother.” And from then on this disciple took her into his home.”
You can read more from Mary at There’s Something about Mary