Carlos E. Barrio y Lipperheide, Argentina •
I am saddened by the profound events that dress our contemporary world in mourning. To cite just a few examples, I think of the recent attack in Barcelona, the hungry and desperate immigrants who reach the developed world’s closed doors, the hunger and misery of so many who cannot find a way to escape their poverty.
These pains bring me to the cross of inconsolable people that are destroyed, anxious and hopeless.
The weight of so many crosses, much crueler than mine! What a mystery the Cross is! How mysterious the harrowing pains, those that are difficult for me to find a reason why, a meaning! They are in the mystery of God.
In these moments, I see the Cross as cold and empty, as if there was only room for death and inconsolable shamelessness. “‘My God, my God, why have you forsaken me?” the Lord said in his agony (Matt. 27:46).
But facing this dark night in which so many suffer, an unexpected flicker seems to loom in the distance, like a faint dawn and an almost imperceptible breath that is slowly discovered– the mysterious presence of Mary alongside the Jesus’ Cross, the Unity Cross in which both are together, the Cross of consolation.
Oh, how we need her maternal love in moments of pain, in the moments in which everything has no meaning when facing violence and hate, when facing totalitarianism and messianic fanaticism from those who only scatter blood and exclusion, when facing indifference, egoisms and exclusions!
The Unity Cross, our Marian identity when facing suffering
The Unity Cross is our Marian identity when facing suffering. We are messengers for the world of God’s sheltering. It commits us to take his message, to be a home for the suffering, to take our shelter and feel sheltered in it, “where bright eyes radiate warmth and kind hands ease hurt and pain” (J. Kentenich, HEAVENWARDS, American Edition, “The Home Song,” p. 158) in the blood-stained streets, in the mutilated bodies of our brothers and sisters, and of those, who in their poverty and abandonment, have left their homes in search of a future.
Surely when Jesus told us that his “…yoke is easy, and my burden is light.” (Matt. 11:30), he was revealing beforehand, the Mary’s maternal presence alongside the Cross. He was announcing to us beforehand the “tri-unity” of his Cross, he, she and we sharing the weight of suffering in life.
This Cross is different from the Cross by itself, sordid, cold and abandoned. The maternal cross brings to us Mary’s warmth, the mystery of the maternal heart, of her warmth of home in pain, her voice’s warm breath that says, “…my spirit rejoices in God my Savior,” (Lk. 1:47).
The Cross is no longer by itself; it has Mary’s loving company, and it requires ours. In her, maternity becomes the flesh of “God with us” and calls for “He has lifted up the lowly” and “He has filled the hungry with good things.” (Lk. 1:52,53)
I feel that Jesus himself felt sheltered by his Mother on the Cross, and without her maternal presence, his agony would have been more lonely, cruel and brutal.
In a final gesture of human and Divine love, he wanted to give us his mother alongside the Cross so that we might also feel her shelter, and thus we might discover in this teaching that Mary will always be alongside our Cross in order to make it lighter, so that we may know that in her, we can rest, find comfort, and unite with the Shrine which bears her maternity foretelling of the Resurrected God, of the new creation.
Let us take Mary’s covering to a cold world, that is distant and full of rage and hate.
From her I feel “By the tender mercy of our God, the dawn from on high will break upon us,” (Lk. 1:78).
Original Spanish: 1 September 2017, Translation: Carlos Cantú, La Feria, Texas USA. Edited: Melissa Peña-Janknegt, Elgin, TX USA