Mater Dolorosa in Via Crucis

Through her heart, His sorrow sharing,

all His bitter anguish bearing,
now at length the sword has passed.

I. As He Leaves the Palace of Pilate

In agony she can see, He is almost dead already
Lashed, mocked, weakened, pale, unsteady.
Rivulets of blood from thorns in His crown trace
Along his supernaturally patient face.

Skin and flesh in tatters and dried blood adhere
To the seamless garment woven for Him by her.
No one else on earth, but she alone, can hear
His moan as the cross is thrown onto His raw shoulder.

Soldiers scourge Him again, rain curses shrill
To drive Him along the sorrowful way
Towards Calvary, the hill of Adam’s Skull.
The crowd engulfs her, she is torn away.

II. After His First Fall

The crowd now somehow parts for her.
The centurions turn aside for her.

He meets her eyes, in com-passion and love.
Words cannot express the inseparable mix
Of shared anguish and a firm resolve
in the long deep gaze they mutually fix.

This day has redeemed you already, my mother.
To save all Our Father’s children, we will not shrink.
You and I together, only us and none other—
We’ll share this cup between us,                                                                                                                            to the dregs of its bitter sweet drink.

Roseanne T. Sullivan writes on art, culture, and liturgy for Latin Mass Magazine, the New Liturgical Movement, Regina MagazineNational Catholic Register, and the Dappled Things blog. She serves as a Facebook page editor at both the Benedict XVI Institute and Catholic Arts Today.  The drawing accompanying this poem is also Roseanne T. Sullivan’s work.

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