A few months ago, I found myself wondering how Mary must have felt at that wedding feast in Cana. A lot has happened between January and now and to be perfectly honest, I had almost forgotten what I’d written. But then, with a timing that only God can pull off, a dear friend emailed my own words back to me on Holy Thursday. My friend is newly married and now is the very happy stepmom to three teenage boys. And I have my two sons. The belief that God finds us worthy to trust us with raising these young men is staggering so what Mary faced would have been even more staggering.
I live for Triduum. I always have. But one of the sad realities of my divorce is that I rarely have my sons with me for Easter, simply the luck of the calendar. I was so very happy to know I would have them with me this year but sadly, there was drama and fighting right up to the door of church on Holy Thursday. As I sat in the pew, ready to elbow either one if they tried to continue their bickering, I found myself looking at the cross and asking Mary how she managed to get through those last few days of her son’s life. How did she find the strength to watch her boy marched to his cruel execution? How did she stand by his side to the very end? How did she not want to strangle his friends, who had become like family, but then abandoned him?
As it turned out, the answer was handed to me. Quite literally. My older son and I were asked shortly before the start of Mass to bring up the offertory gifts. Being Holy Thursday, that meant being at the end of the procession, after the sacramental oils which were brought in one by one. As I stood at the back of the church holding the ciborium, waiting for our turn to process in, all the drama, all the fighting, all the questions that had been clanging around inside me were suddenly silenced. As the quiet descended inside me, I realized that I held the answer to every question ever asked right there in my hands.
How did Mary find the strength to get through her son’s last few days? She trusted God. From the moment of the Annunciation, from that first moment when she trusted God, God had worked the impossible in her life. As those 33 years passed, she watched Jesus become a man, saw the miracles he worked, and witnessed the way he challenged the Jewish establishment, she would have to trust God over and over and over again. But from the moment she held her newborn infant in the stable to the moment she held his broken corpse at the foot of the cross, she knew, if only with a mother’s intuition, that she held the answer to every question ever asked right there in her arms. In the darkness of Good Friday and the long silence of Holy Saturday, she trusted that God would work the impossible. She would not be disappointed.