I wish I could name for you whoever the author or speaker was that first introduced me to the realization I am happy to share in this reflection. While I can’t give credit to that person by name, I can honor the person by helping to spread the beautiful thought the person had about the Fourth Station of the Cross (“Jesus meets His Sorrowful Mother”).
Having been Baptized in Our Lady of Sorrows parish, I count Our Lady of Sorrows as my Baptismal patron. Among the “Seven Sorrows” of our Sorrowful Mother, whose feast is September 15th (the day after the Exaltation of the Cross) are four sorrows related to her Son’s Passion and Death.
The first of those four Sorrows is the sorrowful event commemorated in this Station--meeting her scourged, crowned, and bleeding Son as He carried His Cross to Golgotha.
Although for many years that I made the Stations of the Cross, I never noticed this on my own, thanks to someone’s meditation, I now “see” this beautiful connection between the Station that precedes the Fourth Station, and the Station that follows it.
According to the meditation, Our Lady, in her Fiat—her ongoing Yes! to God’s Will—assented to Her Son’s Way of the Cross. Nevertheless, when she saw her Son’s weakened condition when they met (Fourth Station), she prayed to the Father to help Jesus, Who had just fallen (Third Station).
Are you “seeing” where the meditation is leading?
Continuing the meditation, the person pointed out that Jesus received the help that His Mother prayed for, since in the next Station, Simon helps Jesus carry His Cross.
Admittedly, cynics will contest that Mary’s prayers had nothing to do with obtaining Jesus’ help. Undoubtedly they will point out that the Romans forced someone to help carry the cross in order to insure that Jesus did not die before reaching Golgotha, before being crucified.
For my part, I can accept that the Romans’ motivation does not nullify that the Heavenly Father answered the prayers of Mother Mary, because He could have used the Roman soldiers’ intentions to keep Jesus alive in order to bring an answer to the Sorrowful Mother’s prayers.
“We know that all things work for good for those who love God, who are called according to his purpose.” (Romans 8:28)
Knowing Mother Mary’s intercessory role in our lives of faith, I find comfort in believing that as we carry our crosses, Mary is there for us, too. Meeting us and asking our Merciful God to send us help.
Although the person who shared the meditation didn’t go on to include the Sixth Station (Veronica wipes Jesus’ Face) as a response to Our Lady’s intercessory prayer, I’m thinking that Veronica’s act of mercy could have been the result of Mary’s prayer, too!
The fact that Jesus would fall again (Seventh and Ninth Stations), and then continue to suffer through the rest of the Stations teaches me that each one of us needs to complete our way of the cross, even with the help of the Graces God sends us. And sometimes, with Our Lady’s intercession, those “Graces” come in human form!
In this Jubilee of Mercy, for whom can we ask Our Lady to intercede? For whom can we intercede? How can we honor and relieve the Sorrows of Our Lady by being channels of her Son’s Infinite Mercy?
Please share your experiences with and reflections on the Fourth Station of the Cross. May God bless you. Thank you!