We are drawing near the end of Lent. Now more than ever, it is important for us to meditate the sufferings of Jesus and His mother. In light of this, let’s contemplate the sixth sorrow of Our Lady: Christ is taken down from the cross.

Christ has died. Some friends of Jesus are at Calvary, and they are taking His lifeless body from the cross’ frame. Mary is allowed to hold her Son one more time. She looks at His wounds, and she cleans them. She removes the crown of thorns from His sacred head. She sees the place where Jesus’ sacred and merciful heart was pierced by the lance. What a sword of sorrow then stabbed at her breaking heart! Every scrape, bruise, or gash she discovered on Our Lord’s body renewed the painful blow her soul received. Only with God’s grace would it have been possible for any human heart to endure such acutely excruciating pain.

Christ’s death was no mistake. His was not the death of an ordinary man, being executed for commonplace crimes. Jesus, who was never guilty of sin, died because we are guilty. He took our place, because no one else could offer the sacrifice required to satisfy God’s justice. Today, by our sins, we have struck, bruised, even crucified Christ in our souls. Imagine the sorrow our offenses must give to His mother. If she was pained once, on that Good Friday long ago, how much more must she grieve today over the sins of the world and what they do to her Son? Join tears with her, mourn with her, pray with her, and ask her to help you not to sin again.

Then, if you truly love Christ and His mother, go a step further. Don’t just deny sin, embrace God’s love. To illustrate what I mean, take this: you feel like giving someone a harsh word they may or may not deserve. You could avoid sin and be silent; it is even admirable. But, you could also go a step further and give the person a loving word to replace the harsh one; that is Christ like! This Lent, ask for Mary’s heart, that like her you may reject sin which offends God so much, and grow in love.

Our Lady of Sorrows, pray for us!