“. . . And Simeon blessed them and said to Mary his mother, “Behold, this child is destined for the fall and rise of many in Israel, and to be a sign that will be contradicted (and you yourself a sword will pierce) so that the thoughts of many hearts may be revealed.” Luke 2:34
When we think of Jesus, specifically when we look at the crucifix, most of us fail to acknowledge that it was a baby on that cross. A baby who endured the cruelty, the envy of the authorities that handed Him over to Pilate, Judas’ betrayal – His exclamation on Calvary.
Maybe you find yourself thinking that it is foolish to say a baby was crucified. Or maybe, being that babies are the most innocent and beautiful persons on the planet, it sounds like an evil thing to say. However, when we glimpse a little more closely into His passion, we see that we can come to a few conclusions. 1) Jesus was perfectly innocent, 2) He was the most beautiful and innocent person to ever walk the Earth, and 3) Mary saw her baby being crucified. Let’s focus on the third one. (Yes, I realize I repeated His innocence, but it is worth saying a thousand times over.)
It is worth just thinking about – I know Mary thought about it. She was a loving mother and knew her son was the Son of God. She knew it was her baby being tortured and nailed to the Cross, by the Roman soldiers. We have all heard the old adage, “Parents do not stop being parents even when their children are grown.” She knew her innocent baby was dying, and more than that she accepted it because it was her baby’s will to give His life for us. I will hold firmly to the thought that Mary DID acknowledge it was her baby giving His life; that her heart was/is perfectly pure. She really saw God; She really saw her baby.
Therefore, if we ask Mary for help, we too can see our baby Savior; Jesus on the cross. Thus, we can come to love Him more. Speaking of seeing, it is worth mentioning her gaze. The image of Maia Morgenstern who played the role of Mary in Mel Gibson’s The Passion of the Christ comes to mind. Her gaze was amazingly profound and beautiful. The solace expressed in her eyes can help us imagine Mary’s. (I can’t think of a better image to help with this.)
During this season let’s ask Our Lady for help to really see so that our minds and hearts can love the Innocent One. If we can see, with Mary, that her baby, Jesus, was nailed on that day, our love for Him and others will grow. Accepting the sacrificial gift of a perfectly innocent and perfectly beautiful baby Jesus making His life and death a gift for us, is the first step in knowing that we are loved. And because He loves us, we must always love ourselves being that well – He loves us and Mary loves all of her children, even though we are not perfectly beautiful and innocent like our baby Savior.
Happy Lent, and happy awaited Easter.