A very dear friend of mine had a bike accident right before my eyes recently, and ended up having a few big and deep cuts around one of her eyes. Her husband and I rushed her to the emergency room, certain she would need a few good stitches.
One of the hardest things for me was to see her beautiful face lacerated with deep cuts, and to see her shivering with chills and so weak that she felt she might faint.
Her front wheel had struck a ledge in the darkness, throwing her onto the busy highway. I helped her up and walked her away from the danger, only to sit her on top of an ant pile.
Through this experience I entered into the passion of Christ in a tangible way. I felt as though I experienced a taste of the suffering our Holy Mother faced as her sorrowful heart grieved the suffering and death of her beloved Son on that certain Good Friday 2000 years ago.
Though I think we were tended to fairly quickly, it seemed like forever as I watched her suffer…praying all the while under my breath that God’s healing graces would shine forth, that our Holy Mother, St. Raphael and all the holy angels and saints would intercede.
Seeing my friend suffer in this way caused such deep grief in my own heart to where I began asking our Lord to relieve some of her suffering by giving it to me if it be His will (As I’m sure many have experienced doing with their loved ones).
Then, the time came for the plastic surgeon to begin stitching up. But first he had to give her shots throughout all of the wounds around her eye to deaden the area…not just baby shots, but shots with a long needle that penetrated the flesh and went straight to the bone (wound upon a wound). During this time my friend was shuttering silently, as it was evident she was in suffering intensely.
What could I do but pray that she would have the grace to unite her sufferings with that of Christ. And, that I know she was doing because she was very aware of our role as co-redeemers with Christ. (In fact, later she told me she was offering her suffering in a special way for a person who was strong on her heart that she felt was in need of much prayer).
It just so happened that this was all happening on a Friday evening, when I had already been meditating on the passion of Christ throughout the day. This experience with my friend was only a continuation of such reflection.
How easy it was for me to unite with our sorrowful Mother in the deep grief and anguish of heart that she experienced as she watched her Son suffer so intensely. It was the love of Mary’s heart that allowed her to become so one with her Son in His suffering, so as to experience in such a deep and profound way His passion .
How much more tangible Mary’s role in our redemption became to me as my heart as well entered so deeply and profoundly into the passion my friend was going through.
Mary’s heart was one with her Son’s, my heart one with my friend’s in our union with the hearts of Jesus and Mary.
Mary’s role in our redemption is profound for all of us, because it emphasizes the love and union of the Two Hearts of Jesus and Mary – Christ being God and Mary being creature.
From this, Mary, as the first of us as creatures and Christ’s disciples, invites us all to become one with her in entering into this deep union of hearts with our Divine Bridegroom, which in turn draws us into the Father’s eternal embrace of love.
And, from there, we are invited to enter into a deep union of hearts with all of humanity.
During the remainder of this Lenten Season I invite us all to unite often with the sorrowful heart of Mary in reflecting on the passion and death of Jesus, who suffered for each of us personally, that we can be healed, redeemed and set free.
And, as we do so, may we be disposed to receive the abundant redeeming graces He has for each of us, that will heal us and renew us in God’s love and in becoming the fullness of what we were created to be.