His Descent From the Cross

Reflections on Each of the Seven Dolors of Mary
On the Sixth Dolor: The Piercing of the Side of Jesus, and His Descent From the Cross

Christ, says the devout Lanspergius, shared with his mother the infliction of that wound, for He received the insult and his mother the pain. The holy Fathers explain this to be the very sword predicted to the Virgin by St. Simeon; a sword, not of iron, but of grief,which pierced through Her blessed soul in the Heart of Jesus, where it always dwelt. Thus, among others, St. Bernard says: The spear which opened his side passed through the soul of the Virgin, which could not be torn from the Heart of Jesus.

In Her other dolors She at least had Her Son to com passionate Her; and now She had not even Him to take pity on Her.

Oh, how many swords, says St. Bonaventure, pierced the soul of this mother, when She received the body of Her Son after it was taken from the cross.

My Son, to what has the love Thou didst bear to men reduced Thee! But what evil hast Thou done to them, that they have treated Thee so cruelly?

My Son, behold how I am afflicted, look upon me and console me; but Thou dost look upon me no more. Speak, speak to me but one word, and console me; but Thou dost speak no more, for Thou art dead. Then turning to those barbarous instruments, She said: Oh cruel thorns, oh nails, oh merciless spear, how could you thus torture your Creator? But what thorns, what nails? Alas! sinners, She exclaimed, it is you who have thus cruelly treated my Son. Thus Mary spoke and complained of us. But if now She were capable of suffering, what would She say? What grief would She feel to see that men after the death of Her Son, continue to torment and crucify Him by their sins? Let us no longer give pain to this sorrowful mother; and if we also have hither to grieve Her by our sins, let us now do what She directs. She says to us: Return, ye transgressors, to the Heart. Sinners, return to the wounded Heart of my Jesus; return as penitents, for He will receive you. Flee from Him to Him, She continues to say with Guerric the Abbot, from the Judge to the Redeemer, from the tribunal to the cross.

Now that my Son, oh world, has died to save Thee, this is no longer for Thee a time of fear, but of love: a time to love Him who has desired to suffer so much in order to show Thee the love He bore Thee.

If then, concludes Mary, in the words of the Abbot of Celles, my Son had wished his side to be opened that He might give Thee his Heart, it is right, oh man, that Thou shouldst give Him Thy Heart. And if you wish, oh children of Mary, to find a place in the Heart of Jesus without fear of being cast out, go, says Ubertino of Casale, go with Mary, for She will obtain grace for you.

Text from St. Alphonsus Liguori, The Glories of Mary (New York: P.J. Kenedy & Sons, 1888).

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