April 2, 2010

The Pain of the Mother of God

By Saint Silouan the Athonite

When the soul abides in the love of God - how good and gracious and festive all things are! But even with God's love sorrows continue, and the greater the love the greater the sorrow. Never by a single thought did the Mother of God sin, nor did she ever lose grace, yet vast were her sorrows; when she stood at the foot of the Cross her grief was as boundless as the ocean and her soul knew torment incomparably worse than Adam's when he was driven from Paradise, in that the measure of her love was beyond compare greater than the love which Adam felt when he was in Paradise. That she remained alive was only because the Lord's might sustained her, for it was His desire that she should behold His Resurrection, and live on after His Ascension to be the comfort and joy of the Apostles and the new Christian peoples.

We cannot attain to the full the love of the Mother of God, so we cannot thoroughly comprehend the grief. Her love was complete. She had an illimitable love for God and her Son, but she loved the people too with great love. What, then, must she have felt when those same people whom she loved so dearly, and whose salvation she desired with all her being, crucified her beloved Son?

We cannot fathom such things, since there is little love in us for God and man.

Just as the love of the Mother of God is boundless and passes our understanding, so is her grief boundless and beyond our understanding.

O holy Virgin Mary, tell us, thy children, of thy love on earth for thy Son and God. Tell us how thy spirit rejoiced in God thy Savior. Tell us of how thou didst look upon His fair countenance, and reflect that this was He whom all the heavenly hosts wait upon in awe and love. Tell us what thy soul felt when thou didst bear the wondrous Babe in thine arms. Tell us of how thou didst rear Him, how, sick at heart, thou and Joseph sought Him three long days in Jerusalem. Tell us of thine agony when the Lord was delivered up to be crucified, and lay dying on the Cross. Tell us what joy was thine over the Resurrection. Tell us how thy soul languished after the Lord's Ascension. We long to know of thy life on earth with the Lord, but wast not minded to commit all these things to writing, and didst veil thy secret heart in silence.

Archimandrite Sophroni, Saint Silouan the Athonite, p. 390-91.