“Keep your eyes fixed on Him.” Ever since her adolescence, this has been Mary’s solution to life’s difficulty and sorrow. When experiencing the initial rejection of Joseph, she kept her eyes fixed on Jesus in her womb. When hearing the prophecy of Simeon, Mary looked into Jesus’ eyes. Even on the Cross, Mary did not take her eyes off of her Son, and the joy she experienced in loving Him and gazing on Him gave her strength to suffer all. But now Jesus is dead and shut inside a tomb. There are no feet to gaze on, no eyes to smile into.
But there is still the mother’s love which does not cease pondering the Son in her heart. There is still the Father’s love which sustains Mary just as it has sustained her since conception. Yes, Mary’s passion has begun, an excruciating internal death which will last for three days until the glory of Easter Sunday. But there is love that is as strong as death. It is the love that has formed Mary and led her every day into a life of radical freedom and adventure. It is the love that has saved her. And as long as that love remains with her, Mary cannot fear. She suffers, but she suffers “in love, and out of love [she does] not go.”* The world is in torment as the Savior lies dead in the earth. But Mary is the star in the tumult of the sea. She can see the light that is to dawn so soon, and in the midst of her suffering, she is able to whisper to the apostles, to her children, “Courage, dear hearts.** The Son will rise soon. Behold, He is on the horizon, and He makes all things new.”
Mary, pray for me to have a love that casts out fear. Even when I cannot see Christ, when I feel utterly abandoned, give me your trust and the gift to ponder Him in my heart. Pray that I may never despair, but keep my eyes fixed on the promise of the Father who loves me and who invites me into a life of love, light, and freedom every day. Give me strength as the coronavirus carries on, to trust that the Risen Crucified One makes all things work for good, and that hope is dawning.
One day, I will see you, my Mother, with my own physical eyes. You will take my hand in yours and guide me to the empty tomb where your Son, my Beloved, waits to pronounce my name. Until that day, give me the courage to trust and cling to hope, as you did, every day of your life.
*- C.S. Lewis, “The Great Divorce”
**- C.S. Lewis, “The Voyage of the Dawn Treader”