Flight into Egypt, Loss of Jesus in the Temple, and Meeting Jesus Carrying the Cross
As we ponder Simeon’s prophecy with Our Lady, let’s continue our journey into drawing close to the Heart of Our Lady of Sorrows as we meditate on the second, third, and fourth sword that pierced Mary’s heart.
“When they had departed, behold, the angel of the Lord appeared to Joseph in a dream and said, ‘Rise, take the child and his mother, flee to Egypt, and stay there until I tell you. Herod is going to search for the child to destroy him.’”
As Joseph received the dream, warning him to flee with Mary and Jesus because of Herod, what was Mary’s response? Her heart was probably filled with fear for her beloved Son, as well as deep sorrow that her Son, the beloved infant Jesus in her arms, was already being sought out to be killed.
Imagine Mary looking at Jesus in her arms on the way to Egypt thinking, “how could anyone not love my dear Son?”. As Jesus is sleeping in her arms, unaware of those who are looking for Him, does Mary receive peace from her quiet, sleeping Son? Does she receive consolation from her Son to simply stay close to Him and His Heart?
Of course, Our Mother’s Heart is still sorrowful at this reality. How she wishes everyone would love her Son! But she clings to the hope that through Him, all of these people might come to know Him and be saved.
When we find ourselves in the midst of our sufferings, in the midst of our sorrows, can we find consolation in looking at Our Lord’s face? Do we turn to Our Mother who understands our pain and wants to console us, or do we turn away from Our Lord’s loving gaze and take matters into our own hands?
Let us run to Mary as she travels to Egypt with Our Lord, offering her our own sorrows as a consolation to her heart.
Loss of Jesus in the Temple
“When his parents saw him, they were astonished, and his mother said to him, ‘Son, why have you done this to us? Your father and I have been looking for you with great anxiety.’ And he said to them, ‘Why were you looking for me? Did you not know that I must be in my Father’s house?’ But they did not understand what he said to them. He went down with them and came to Nazareth, and was obedient to them; and his mother kept all these things in her heart.”
In the third Sorrow of Mary, we can draw close to the heart of Our Mother as she is looking for her Child Jesus.
Imagine what was going on in Our Mother’s heart when she realized that Jesus was missing. Was she calling out for Him? Searching for Him, longing to see the face of her Son? A mother’s heart loves her child unlike anyone else and suffers when her child is apart from her. Imagine how much, the perfect Mother, suffered because of the lost Child Jesus!
I think that we have all had times in our lives where we feel like we can’t find Jesus, where He seems to be invisible in whatever situation we are going through. When we go to prayer and it seems dry, or when we ask the Lord for something and He doesn’t seem to respond…does this sound familiar? Of course, we need to place our trust in Our Lord, knowing that He always hears us and answers our prayers. However, when we find ourselves in these sufferings, we know that we can run to Our Mother in this sorrow as she understands the suffering of not being able to see her Son.
Next time we find ourselves in this situation, let’s draw close to Mary’s heart in this sorrow. And when we ultimately come out of our sorrow, we can be met with the joy of finding our Savior in his Father’s House. He has never left us! Even when we can’t see Him, He is there with us amidst our sufferings and anxieties.
When we encounter those moments in our lives where we feel that Jesus is hiding His Face, we can draw close to the heart of Our Sorrowful Mother, knowing that she understands our heart and will ultimately bring us to her Son.
Mary Meets Jesus Carrying the Cross
“A large crowd of people followed Jesus, including many women who mourned and lamented him”
Can you imagine, after all of the torture your Son has already gone through, meeting Him as He is carrying the Cross He is to die on?
As Mary approaches Jesus under His heavy Cross, she sees His face. His face is bruised and swollen, dripping with blood and sweat. Imagine how this pains her heart: Her beloved and innocent Son, the One whom she knows is to redeem the world, going through a torture such as this! I can imagine her asking herself, “How did this come to be? How did my precious Son get here?” But Mary continues to trust. She continues to watch her Son carry the redemption of the world on His shoulders, through the pain and sword piercing her own heart.
As we feel the weight of our own crosses in our lives, as we feel the sorrow in our hearts, we may be tempted to give up. To set down the cross, turn around, and live without this burden. In my first year of college, I remember encountering this question: is living for Christ worth it? Is it worth the suffering of the Cross? As I took a step into independence, it was a choice I had to make. The temptation to run from the Cross may be strong, but Christ is so worth it. As St. Paul states in his letter to the Romans:
“I consider that the sufferings of this present time are as nothing compared with the glory to be revealed for us”
When we encounter these temptations to run from our crosses, let us go to our Mother, who has watched her beloved Son carry the Cross for all of us!
She understands the weight of the cross. Although Mary was not physically carrying the Cross up Calvary with Jesus, the weight of the Cross pierced her heart with a heavy and painful sorrow. She will meet you in this place. She is not afraid of the crosses Jesus has given you.
Our Mother desires our joy and everlasting happiness in heaven. However, she understands that this will not happen without the sorrows of the Cross. So, as the good Mother she is, she meets us as she met Jesus on the way to Calvary: staying close to us each step of the way.