The Blessed Mother at Christ’s Passion

Dictated to St. Anselm by the Blessed Mother herself, The Passion of Christ Through the Eyes of Mary blesses readers with a firsthand account of Mary’s deep sorrow at the dolorous suffering of her Son. The following excerpt describes Christ’s condemnation and His journey to Golgotha through Mary’s eyes. 

As it was clear that the crowd could not be assuaged in any other way, Pilate then pronounced the sentence of death against my Son. He said, “I hereby sentence Jesus the Nazarene to death and order that He shall be executed by crucifixion.”

Anselm: Most noble Lady, how did you react when you heard this dreaded sentence being pronounced against your dear Son?

Mary: When I heard these grim and fateful words, the piercing sword of which Simeon had spoken again passed through my heart! Anselm: O sweet and cherished Mary! What happened after this?

Mary: They then took Jesus, my beloved Son, and led Him forth—as the apostle and evangelist John has written—carrying His cross. And they went to the place known as Calvary, where He was to be crucified. The cross was of such a great size that its total length was some fifteen feet. Now, my Son was thoroughly exhausted after all He had endured on the previous day and night, to such an extent that He was unable to sustain the heavy weight of His cross. Hence it was—as the evangelist Luke writes in his Gospel—that they took a certain Simon of Cyrene and placed the cross upon him to carry after Jesus, my precious and only-begotten Son. But they did this not because they felt any compassion or kindness but rather because Jesus Himself was utterly unable to sustain the burden by Himself.

Anselm: As He was led forth with the cross, were there any who followed Him along the way?

Mary: There were. In fact, a whole crowd followed Him, just as happens when thieves and bandits are taken forth to be executed. Hence it is that Saint Luke writes, “A great multitude of the people followed Him. And amongst these were many women, who mourned and lamented for Him.”  

But there followed Him also many wicked and malicious boys, who threw stones at Him. My Son, Jesus, turned to the women who grieved for Him and said to them, “Daughters of Jerusalem, weep not for Me but for yourself and for your children—these ones who are now throwing stones and mud at Me! Truly, they know not what they do. For soon the day will come when they shall say that those who are childless are fortunate. They shall say that the womb that has never carried and infant is lucky, and that the breasts which have never nursed a baby are blessed! And they shall say to the mountains, ‘Fall upon us!’ and to the hills, ‘Cover us!’ For if your children commit these acts of cruelty now while the wood is still green—that is, while they are but children—what crimes and horrors shall they commit by the time the wood has become dry—that is, once they are mature? And if they inflict such sufferings and ignominy on Me, what atrocities and cruelties shall future generations not do to the saints who follow Me?” 

And they led with Him two other men who were also condemned to be crucified. This was done for the purpose of generating greater confusion and tumult amongst the crowds.

Thus they led my Son as the principal condemned man amongst the group, and the two thieves as companions to Him. They went beyond the city gates, all the while hounded by the crowds of people pressing in upon them and hurling scorn and insults at them. I myself desperately wished to follow Him closely, but—alas!—I could not, because of the sheer density of the crowd.

But nevertheless, I deliberated with Mary Magdalene, who was my companion at that time. Together, we took an alternative route, passing through a certain field and going around a spring of water until we met with them all on the way. 

When I finally saw Him again, my Son was in a wretched condition and looked like one weighed down with pain and anguish. But as He passed by, He gently inclined Himself to me and said, “I thank you, My beloved and chosen Mother, for the countless benefits which you have bestowed upon Me and for the trials, tribulations, and deprivations which you have endured for My sake! For it was you who nourished the temple of My mortal body with maternal care. And now, in My hour of pain and disgrace, you have not abandoned Me. Nor have you permitted yourself to be overcome with shame or fear, although I am now reduced to being an object of scorn and contempt and despised by all.”

This article is taken from a chapter in Passion of Christ Through the Eyes of Mary by St. Anselm of Canterbury which is available from TAN Books



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