The Mother Of Christ by Father Vassall-Phillips Part 34.

These words of Simeon to our Lady constitute the first of her Dolours.

The Holy Mother of God knew from her study of the Hebrew Scriptures that the Messias was to be despised and rejected of men, and acquainted with infirmity, that He should be led as a sheep to the slaughter, that He should be wounded for our transgressions and bruised for our iniquities, that the chastisement of our peace should be upon Him, that by His bruises we might be healed. Never for one moment could she have been misled by the error prevalent amongst the Jews that Shiloh, now every where expected, was to have on earth a reign of temporal triumph, bringing material greatness and freedom to Israel. When she bowed her head in obedience to Gabriel's message and offered her Fiat : " Be it done unto me according to thy word," she knew full well that the Holy One—her Child—was destined to bear the sins of men, and that His Mother must be associated with the Saviour's lot.

It may be, however, that perhaps our Lady sometimes wondered whether she had understood aright. There was hardly room for hesitation; yet after all ... Thus, whilst there is any possibility of mistake, men will often hope against hope. . . . But then she heard the words of Simeon, filled with the Holy Ghost. He summed up the olden prophecies in a few terse sentences: The Child was set for the fall of some, for the resurrection of others. O! pang to His Mother's heart, He should be a sign to be contradicted—a public reproach—and a sword was to pierce through her own soul also—the sword of sorrow tearing her heart in twain. But of herself, surely she thought not then, save to bow down her will in utter conformity to the holy Will of God. As always, her thoughts were set on her Child—on that Child, whom even at that moment, Simeon was placing in her arms. During all the years that were yet to pass, whenever she should gaze upon Him, whenever she should speak to Him, whenever she thought of Him, those words would be ringing in her ears. He was to be a sign, to be spoken against and contradicted. Already, the sword had began to enter the soul of Mary—the sword of anticipation —of anticipation which she knew must be realized— not yet made specific, but on that account the more terrible, as she asked herself again and again how and when the prophecies were to be accomplished. The shadows of Gethsemane and of Calvary were cast over the fields of Bethlehem and of Nazareth, and they lengthened daily. As Jesus grew up and seemed each hour to become more lovely in all His ways, Mary knew that His steps were moving inexorably towards His prepared destiny—that soon He should be led "even as a sheep to the slaughter." All whose lot it is to watch one they love slowly dying—whilst there is no hope—may find comfort and strength, if they will think of our Lady waiting for Mount Calvary, weighed down with dread, well-nigh intolerable, yet her soul tranquil and at peace, her eyes fixed on God—taking to her heart the great Beatitude: " Blessed are they that mourn, for they shall be comforted."