Inscription: “If you desire relief from your hardships, draw near to me.”
Image of Our Lady of Sorrows, seated, holding a handkerchief. Photographed in the Church of St. Dominic, Puebla, Mexico.

[The blessing pronounced by Elizabeth] reaches its full meaning when Mary stands beneath the Cross of her Son (cf. Jn 19:25). The [Second Vatican] Council says that this happened “not without a divine plan”: by “suffering deeply with her only-begotten Son and joining herself with her maternal spirit to his sacrifice, lovingly consenting to the immolation of the victim to whom she had given birth”, in this way Mary “faithfully preserved her union with her Son even to the Cross”. It is a union through faith – the same faith with which she had received the angel’s revelation at the Annunciation. At that moment she had also heard the words: “He will be great… and the Lord God will give to him the throne of his father David, and he will reign over the house of Jacob for ever; and of his kingdom there will be no end” (Lk 1:32-33).

And now, standing at the foot of the Cross, Mary is the witness, humanly speaking, of the complete negation of these words. On that wood of the Cross her Son hangs in agony as one condemned. “He was despised and rejected by men; a man of sorrows…he was despised, and we esteemed him not”: as one destroyed (cf. Is 53:3-5). How great, how heroic then is the obedience of faith shown by Mary in the face of God’s “unsearchable judgments”! How completely she “abandons herself to God” without reserve, offering the “full assent of the intellect and the will” to him whose “ways are inscrutable” (cf. Rom 11:33)! And how powerful too is the action of grace in her soul, how all-pervading is the influence of the Holy Spirit and of his light and power!

– Pope John Paul II, Redemptoris Mater n. 18

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