We Christians, regardless of which church or denomination we belong to, we're familiar with the scriptures depiction of the suffering of Christ for our salvation. And if reading about his suffering didn't give us a visual certainly the Mel Gibson blockbuster movie "The Passion of the Christ" gave us all images we would be hard pressed to ever forget. Now that Epiphany is over and the Lenten season is looming near I can't help but think of the two things that have become a sort of tradition in my home during Lent.
First, I begin to listen to Tatiana's "I Thirst" CD over and over. What an incredible voice she has! And the music ... the lyrics make me weep no matter how often I hear them because she is singing the scriptures- namely the story of Christ's crucifixion and she's got the voice of an angel. The second tradition in my home during Lent is watching "The Passion of the Christ" again. I watch this movie once a year and only once a year. I don't ever want to become desensitized to the suffering Christ did, but I do want to see it each year as movies can have a way of bringing things to life and effecting us deeply in ways we never forget. That is what Mel Gibson's "The Passion of the Christ" does to me. I know what's coming, the horror and suffering portrayed so amazingly by all involved in the movie,but I still have to watch in horror as each lash of the whip falls on Christ's back. Even just the scene of Mel Gibson's hands nailing Christ to the cross and knowing that Gibson wanted to be the one to do that scene because he knows we all are guilty of the sins that put our precious Lord on that cross to die for our salvation. Powerful. The film is powerful as is the music of Tatiana's "I Thirst" CD. If you haven’t heard Tatiana’s “I Thirst” or seen Mel Gibson’s “The Passion of the Christ” I recommend both, but be warned they are powerful and Gibson’s portrayal is graphic and disturbing.
With these two traditions come my thoughts of Mary. As a mother, I cannot begin to grasp the ordeal she suffered in watching her son being humiliated, beaten, tortured and finally killed by such a brutal death. As a mother, I'd give my life for my children and do anything in my power to protect them from pain and suffering, but Mary couldn't do that. Mary had to stand by and witness it all silently suffering the horror of her precious son’s brutal death. How she bore that is nothing short of miraculous and the Hand of God on her. The scriptures have one small verse to say about this: "And a sword will pierce your own soul too." (Lk.2:35)
The song "Silently, Silently" by Tatiana depicts Mary's silent suffering as she witnesses the death of her Son. As I hear the words of this song being sung my mind visualizes the scenes of Gibson's account of Mary watching Jesus carry the cross and stumble along the way with flashbacks of Jesus as a child running and falling with Mary running to go to him. Yet this time, as Jesus struggles with the cross falling to the ground she can't go to him. She must stand by and watch while her heart breaks. My admiration and love for Mary grows each time I reflect on her life as the Mother of God Incarnate and all that entails.
Often many think of Mary around Christmas and the happy occasion of Christ's birth. How many think of the suffering Mary endured being the Mother of our Savior? As Lent grows nearer and we rightly meditate on our Lord and the price He paid for our salvation, let's take a moment and reflect on Mary and the suffering she endured as the Mother of God.
John 19:25 "Near the cross of Jesus stood his mother,..."