We have just witnessed how Our Lord Jesus Christ became obedient even unto death on a cross. By his obedience and love for the Father, Jesus reverses the disobedience of Adam by entering into combat with the serpent. It was the will of the Father that allowed Jesus to undergo bodily death in order to completely annihilate it, along with suffering, sickness and sin. He completely destroyed the works of the devil by his humility and obedience. And he allowed his mother to participate in this.
Where Eve said no, Mary said yes. When the angel Gabriel appeared to Mary – – the mystery we just celebrated a few days ago – – she consented to the will of God to be the mother of the Son. And it was such a powerful yes. An active yes – – “Let it be done to me according to your word.” This is coming from someone who always had been living a life of faithful obedience to the will of God. She didn’t deviate from this disposition. Even though she didn’t fully understand or anticipate where it would lead, Mary said yes. At Bethlehem, Egypt, Nazareth. She echoed “thy will be done” when she got a hint of the suffering of her Son that would cause her heart to be pierced. She echoed it when she inaugurated the Hour, alongside Jesus, at the wedding feast of Cana. She did so all along. And she echoed her yes again at Golgotha as she stood at the foot of the cross.
“Is it nothing to you, all you who pass by? Look and see if there is any sorrow like my sorrow“
Imagine a heart so immaculate and holy, so tender and loving—- such a mother’s heart there never was more ever will be. Mother Mary loved Jesus as both her son and God, intensely and perfectly, at the same time, at every moment. His agony was hers. The prayer of Jesus in the garden of Gethsemane became her prayer at the foot of the cross: “My Father, if it is possible, let this cup pass from me; yet, not as I will, but as you will.” I think that while the movie is not perfect, “The Passion of the Christ,” so poignantly depicted the suffering of Mary which she endured in union with her Son. It seems to me that people who think Catholics make too much a big deal about Our Lady should consider what she went through.
Surrendering to the will of God
What does it mean for Mary to be “co-Redemptrix” but that she united her suffering to that of Christ’s, making it redemptive in and through him. And how intense must her suffering have been – – she who spiritually died with her son? How great her love – – the handmaid of the Lord united to the son of the handmaid: two hearts beating as one? In this way, and in her free yes to the immolation of her beloved son, she is seen as the new Eve who perfectly obeys God, to the end and becomes Mother of all the living.
Sometimes it’s so difficult to surrender will to God’s will, even in things that are good and noble. The other day, on the solemnity of the Annunciation, I had wanted to write some things about it but didn’t get a chance. But I did get to spend some time with a friend whose visit I enjoyed. This was God’s will. And I surrendered the writing that day because I realized that at the heart of the Annunciation to our lazy and the mystery of the incarnation of Christ is obedience to will of God!
It began with yes, may it end with yes.
As I write these words today on Holy Saturday 2021, and whenever they are read, Let us consider Our Lady with the mangled and lifeless body of our Beloved Lord in her arms – – the cost of our disobedience. Strengthened by the example our dear mother Mary may we console her immaculate and sorrowful heart by saying yes to her. We do this by doing the will of her glorified and risen Son (saying yes to God in all things). And thus, at the completion, we will hear our Father’s yes to us: “‘Well done, good and faithful servant; you have been faithful over a little, I will set you over much; enter into the joy of your master.”