When I first saw The Passion, it was on DVD. There was no way I was facing that thing down on a large screen. I knew it would hurt me, and it did. Not when they flog Jesus. Not when they nail Him to the Cross.
When Mary meets Jesus.
She’s following her Son, but not where He can see her. She’s hiding. She knows she has to witness her Son’s pain. But she’s terrified.
She leans against a wall, agonized. He’s coming, she can hear the crowd, and if she doesn’t turn now, He won’t see her. Then He falls. And in her memories, she sees Him fall as a baby. As she did when He was young, she runs to Him and says “I am here”.
Watch it here.
Jesus’ suffering was immense, and purchased my salvation. He is my Lord and Savior.
But I relate to the women of the Passion: suffering Mary, brave Veronica, and the weeping women of Jerusalem. Now that I have children, Mary’s story is personal. She was obedient, but God asked so much of her and her faith never waivered.
How did she survive it?
My journey this Lent has been to let go—of the paralyzing fear that feeds my need to control and steals my joy.
And Mary’s story, the loss of a child, is the thing I fear the most. The Worst Thing.
I found a story a few months ago, when Glennon from Momastery posted it on her Facebook page. I think that reading this story was the first step on my Lenten path. I believe that examples of Mary walk among us. And I believe this is how we survive the Worst Thing:
Nelba Marquez-Greene’s daughter, Ana, died at Sandy Hook Elementary on December 14.
Afterwards, through a mountain of love and support, some folks also called her motivations into question.
Nelba responded on Facebook:
I wept when I read some of the comments after our interviews. Most were beautiful. Some suggested we were actors. Oh how I wish that to be so. It was purely by God’s grace we had the strength to stand yesterday and everyday since December 14th. One comment read, “So fake. These people are actors. What 6 year old loves God”? Well I’m here to let you know that our six year old loved God! So DOES my eight year old. So do I. So does my husband…For me, love is not about what others choose to feel or act or say. It’s about what I choose to feel or act or say. I choose love.
Then she said this:
Evil visited Newtown. Now it’s our choice to respond. We choose good. We choose life. We choose hope. We choose that even though we’re sad and we weren’t perfect parents we got one thing right- we invested in eternal things.
Eternal things. An Ultimate Plan. A Life after Death.
Jesus died on that cross to save us. It was horrible and painful and bloody. But it was also Glorious and Loving and Amazing. God’s love wins.
That’s what Mary knew. That’s how she survived the Worst Thing. That’s what Nelba knows. That’s how she’s surviving the Worst Thing.
On Sunday morning, we celebrate the victory. No more fear. God’s love wins.