We tried to make it to Stations of the Cross today at noon or rather, I should say that we did make it to the Church, but when we saw leotard clad girls with flimsy skirts, flags and scarves lining up outside and heard the music and saw the dancing (and the underwear under the flimsy skirts), we decided to avail ourselves of the private devotion. We even sang the Stabat Mater although the Trapp Family Singers we are not! : )
As we reached the fourth station, I was reminded of what our pastor had said in his homily on Palm Sunday. (I had wanted to share it with you then, but I made the mistake of blinking and that idea found itself lost in the fog that is my brain.) It was a bit of a recap of the parish mission for those in the congregation who had not made it to any of the full week of talks. Don't you love it when you feel Father pointing right at you with his words? Gulp! Who me?
The visiting priest apparently spoke about the fourth station, Jesus Meets His Mother, with such tenderness and insight. How could you not? I think, just about every mother would say that this station is the one they feel the most. It is the one point in The Passion that is sure to have me bawling just knowing it is coming up. It is the station that brought about the "reversion" of a dear friend of mine who was struggling with the Church's teaching on Mary. Why do we love her so much? As she discovered on the island of Capri one Holy Week... because He loved her so much!
But this priest asked a question that I had never heard before, maybe you have... what was Mary thinking when she met Jesus? As a mom, we can imagine some of the pain she was going through. We know for a fact it was as though a sword was piercing her own heart. But what was she thinking? Father posited an answer.
She said a prayer.
She said a quiet prayer. And it was answered. How do we know? Because the next station is Simon Helps Jesus Carry His Cross. Can't you just hear Mary begging God for this? Please help Him! She knew who He was and what He had to do, but she was still his mother and He was her son. Please, help Him!
And then the next station, Veronica Wipes the Face of Jesus. As a mom, it can be heart breaking to see your child's face altered due to a simple accident, even a childhood mishap that will naturally be corrected over time. This was her son's precious face, all covered with blood and sweat and dirt. Can't you hear the Blessed Mother crying inside... Let me see His beautiful face again!
This was the first time I had ever heard this interpretation and while I know that we can't know for sure, it really made sense to me. I have always been perplexed by the fifth station. Why did he need help? Who was Simon of Cyrene? Why was he chosen and what are we supposed to learn from this station? Yes, I've read the different interpretations and I think there are many scholarly people with plenty to say about the significance and importance of this station and the next, but I still. didn't. get it. Probably just me.
And St. Veronica? How did she make it through the crowds? Why would the guards have allowed this kindness after they had already inflicted so much pain? Were they distracted? Why?
God wouldn't refuse the prayer of the Blessed Mother. He knows the tortures of a mother's heart and he hears her prayers.