Beautiful and Sad Meditation on The sufferings of The Sorrowful Mother written by the Italian mystic Maria Valtorta

When on the ground, they would like to lay Him on the sheet that they have spread on their mantles. But Mary wants Him. She has opened Her mantle, letting it hang on one side, and She is sitting with Her knees rather apart to form a cradle for Her Jesus…He is now in His Mother’s lap… And He looks like a big tired child who is asleep all cuddled up in his mother’s lap…Jesus’ head is resting on His Mother’s shoulder. And She calls Him…

She calls Him in a heart-rending voice. She then detaches Him from Her shoulder and caresses Him with Her left hand, She takes and stretches out His hands and, before folding them on His dead body, She kisses them and weeps on their wounds. Then She caresses His cheeks, particularly where they are bruised and swollen, She kisses His sunken eyes, His mouth lightly twisted to the right and half-open. She would like to tidy His hair, as She has tidied His beard encrusted with blood…and She seems to be holding the tender head of a new-born baby with Her fingers, so delicately does She do it. And when She succeeds in removing the torturing crown, She bends to cure all the scratches of the thorns with Her kisses…

Mary never tires of caressing those frozen limbs. With even greater delicacy than if She were touching those of a new-born baby, She takes the poor tortured hands, She clasps them in Her own, She kisses the fingers and stretches them, She tries to connect the gaping wounds, as if She wished to doctor them, so that they may not ache so much and She presses those hands, which can no longer caress, against Her cheeks, and moans and moans in Her dreadful grief. She straightens and joins the poor feet, which are so limp, as if they were deadly tired of walking so far on our behalf. But they have been displaced too much on the cross, and the left one in particular is almost flat, as if it had no ankle…

She then attends to Jesus’ head again and straightens it, because it is lightly bent back and much to the right. She tries to close His eyelids, which persist in remaining half-open, and His mouth, which has remained open, contracted and a little twisted to the right. She tidies His hair, which only yesterday was beautiful and tidy, and now has become a tangle heavy with blood. She disentangles the longer locks, She smoothes them on Her fingers and curls them to give them back the form of the lovely hair of Her Jesus, so soft and curly. And She moans and moans, because She remembers when He was a little boy… It is the fundamental reason for Her grief: the recollection of Jesus’ childhood, of Her love for Him, of Her carefulness…

Her lamentation makes me [Maria Valtorta] suffer. And when moaning She says: “What have they done to You, Son?,” not being able to Put up with seeing Him thus, naked, rigid, on a stone, She takes Him in Her arms, passing Her arm under His shoulders and pressing Him to Her heart with the other hand and lulling Him, moving exactly as in the grotto of the Nativity, Her gesture makes me weep and suffer, as if a hand rummaged in my heart.

4th October 1944.

The terrible spiritual distress of Mary.

The Mother is standing near the anointing stone caressing, contemplating, moaning, weeping. The flickering light of the torches illuminates Her face now and again, and I see large tear drops stream down the cheeks of Her ravaged face. And I can hear Her words. Every one of them. All of them, very clearly, although whispered between Her lips, a real conversation of a mother’s soul with the soul of Her Son. I am told to write them.

“Poor Son! How many wounds!… How much You have suffered! Look what they have done to You!… How cold You are, Son! Your fingers are ice-cold. And how motionless they are! They seem to be broken. Never, not even in the sound sleep of a child, or in the heavy sleep after working as an artisan, were they so inert… And how cold they are! Poor hands! My darling, My love, My holy love, give them to Your Mother! Look how lacerated they are! John, look what a gash! Oh! cruel men! Here, give Me this wounded hand of Yours. That I may dress it. Oh! I will not hurt You… I will use kisses and tears, and I will warm it with My breath and My love…Why is time so long now? Ah! inhuman torture! Because you are dead. They have killed You! You are no longer on the Earth! No longer! Wherever I send My soul to look for Yours and embrace it, because finding You, having You, feeling You was the life of My body and of My spirit, wherever I look for You with the wave of My love, I no longer find you, I do not find You any more. Nothing of You is left to Me but these cold soulless remains!”

Now the heart-broken Mother bends once again over Her Son, estranged to everything that is not He, and She whispers slowly: “…Now… Now I am alone and I am dying, too. But I will love You for two: for those who have loved You so little that they abandoned You at the moment of sorrow; I will love You for those who have hated You, I will love You for the whole world, Son. You will not feel the chill of the world. No, You will not feel it…Oh! it is My right and My duty as a Mother. It is My wish. There is no one but the Mother Who can have it, Who can have a love as big as the universe for Her Son.”

What is Your Heart? The flame of Mine, that split to condense in a crown around the kiss given by God to His Virgin. That is what your Heart is. Ah! (The shout is so heart-rending that the Magdalene hastens to succour Her with John. The other women dare not move and weeping and veiled, look stealthily from the opening). Ah! they have broken it! That is why You are so cold, and I am so cold! There is no longer inside You the flame of My heart, and I can no longer continue to live through the reflection of that flame, which was Mine and which I gave You to make Your heart. Here, here, here, on My breast! Before death kills Me, I want to warm You up, I want to lull You. I used to sing to You: “There is no home, there is no food, there is nothing but sorrow”. O prophetic words! Sorrow, sorrow, sorrow for You, for Me! I used to sing to You: “Sleep, sleep on My heart”. Also now: here, here, here… , And sitting on the edge of the stone, She takes Him in Her lap, passing one arm of Her Son round Her shoulders, resting His head on Her shoulder, and bending Her head on His, holding Him close to Her breast, lulling and kissing Him, heart-broken and heart-rending.

~ “The Poem of the Man-God” by Maria Valtorta


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