Standing by the cross of Jesus…

What is compassion?  Think about how helpless you can feel when you see someone you love suffer.  That person is hurting.  You try to comfort them, but you can not take away the pain.  All you can do is share it.

Or thank about a child falling and scraping his knee. A mother’s first impulse is to run toward him and gather him in her arms. The knee still hurts, but his mother’s embrace tells him that it is going to be all right.

This helps us understand Jesus’ Mother, Mary.  She went through scary, painful, and vulnerable situations with Jesus.  Like any mother, she surely wanted to run and scoop him up in her arms when she saw his anguish.  She could not take away the pain.  She did not always have the answer, but she could embrace him.  And when she could not do it physically, she remained close to him in prayer.

Simeon’s prophecy of a sword, the flight into Egypt, losing Jesus at the Temple, watching him carry his cross, the crucifixion, taking him down from the cross, and his burial.  Rather than contemplating how sorrowful Mary was in each instance, try focusing on how she reached out to comfort Jesus.  Imagine her rushing to lift him up, enfolding him in her arms.  Picture her offering him a look of compassion and support when she could not reach him.

Do not stop there. Imagine Mary comforting you. She knows what it is like to suffer.  She embraces you; she prays with you; she reminds you that you are still in God’s hands.  Let her hold you close.  Let her warmth envelop you like a child in the arms of his mother.  Then let her carry you to Jesus, who has every grace and blessing waiting for you.

-word among us