IV. THE MEETING ON THE ROAD TO CALVARY
The fourth of Mary's Dolours is also the fourth Station of the Cross.
For the eighteen years that followed the Finding in the Temple, all that we know of the Life of Jesus Christ, our great Example, is summed up in the inspired sentence: "He was subject" to Joseph and Mary. Those wonderful years having passed, there followed the three years of the Public Ministry, during which our Lord went about doing good, healing the sick in soul and body, working divine Miracles, speaking as man never spoke before and shall never speak again, training His chosen Apostles, building up His Church. And at length all things were ready. He had eaten the Pasch for the last time with His disciples and given them Himself to be their spiritual Food. It was now the hour which He called His Own, the hour of His high Mysterious Passion. The hour, ever present to Mary's thoughts in dread apprehension, had struck at last. Judas had betrayed his God; Peter had denied Him; Pilate standing aloof, letting matters take their course, had washed his hands. Our Lady heard of all. She had been told of the mock trial; she knew that her Son, the supreme Judge of the Living and the Dead, had been bandied about from one unjust judge to another, from Caiaphas to Herod, and back again from Herod to Caiaphas. The Sovereign King of angels and of men had been crowned with the cruel crown of thorns ; His adorable Body had been scourged by brutal soldiers, and crushed beneath the weight of a cross of wood ; His Face, upon which angels long to gaze, had been spat upon in contumely; the Maker of the universe, weary, athirst, despised, rejected, bloodstained, was even now toiling up the Hill of Calvary. Mary, accompanied, as we may believe, by St. John and the Magdalen who were to stand with her beneath the Cross, set out to meet her Son. The modest Virgin who a few days before shrank from those streets of Jerusalem when they rang with the glad Hosannas :
"Hosanna to the Son of David, Hosanna in the highest," shrank not now when the air she breathed was rendered horrible, as she heard the shout: "Away with Him, Away with Him. Crucify Him. Crucify Him. His Blood be upon us and upon our children." Amidst that awful clamour Jesus met Mary— the Mother met her Son. Jesus at that dread hour looked upon our Lady, and Mary gazed upon the Face of her Child. It is impossible for any man to picture to himself what then passed within the heart of the afflicted Mother of God. It has been beautifully said that Mary held herself rapt before the Passion of Christ, as the Saints have held themselves before our altars at the moment when the Host is raised, and made a spiritual Communion with devotion and fervour, such as our Lord has never found since then in the most loving soul that He has nourished with the divine Eucharist. She then, as it were, received a Viaticum, by which she was fortified to pass on, up Calvary's Hill, and take her post beneath the Shadow of the Cross.