The Third Station: Mary Does Not Turn Away

March 1, 2010 Comments Off on The Third Station: Mary Does Not Turn Away

As he made his way through the streets, Jesus encountered the yells and taunts of the crowd.  Delivered to the hands of his enemies, he must have been desperate for a friendly face when his path of suffering led him past a source of great comfort:  His mother, Mary.  Unable to intervene, Mary bears witness to his torturous journey as he is led to his death.  She sees, she understands, she does not turn away.  We find her here in the very moment when all that the Angel foretold back in the beginning comes to pass, when she must bend her faith to the imperative:  “Do not be afraid.”

Life can be unbearably challenging at times, and none of us are adequately prepared for those moments when we come to our own crossroads-when we must endure circumstances we wouldn’t wish on anyone.  We don’t know what tomorrow holds, and how or when it may challenge us and truly test our faith in God, in man, in our own ability to bear it away.  We are obviously tested by the stark and profound changes—losing a loved one, enduring great illness, surviving economic turmoil, comprehending the cruelty of the earthquake in Haiti.  But many of life’s greatest challenges creep up on us: the isolations of modern life, the indignities of aging, the unending grind of daily life in a crowded metropolis.  How do we find, hold onto, and cultivate faith in today’s world?

So many of us have been taught or fooled into believing that we have to maintain that façade, that we mustn’t let our burdens hang out for others to see and to share.  Don’t believe it, because this is a lie.  It takes great humility to reveal yourself in this way to others, to confide in them your pain and let them share your own ‘time of trials’.  We lose when we hide life burdens away and tell others everything is ok, when inside we feel opposite.  We lose out when we look away from the suffering of others—not only our friends and family, but those in the vast array of life around us:  that totally annoying neighbor, the homeless man, the victims of far-flung wars and disaster.

For me, it feels like my nearest experiences with God come through the simplest acts of being in true communion and sharing both the joyful and sorrowful journeys of others in the world around me.   Love binds us together and gives us strength.

– Jack Murray

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