Seven Sorrows, Seven Joys 

Sonnets in Meditation on Mary's Life (Cont.)

It was a sacrifice for you to speak

that wedding-word that welcomed miracle.

It ended silence, privacy, the spell

of years when everything empirical

was divinized by Him, His hand, His look -

the quiet years at Nazareth when He,

True God, reserved for you His company -

all ended at that feast in Galilee

when wine ran out, and cups were drained and stained,

and you, concerned, told Him, "They have no more."

He knew what you implied, and He turned stern

to test the depth of your request, explore

your readiness to co-redeem, to fast,

abstain, bear pain - and keep the best for last -

She stood when other women would have dropped

and fallen down and clawed the quaking ground.

She stood and shared His silence when the wails

of weeping women bound the air with sound

and held it heavy, every breath a blow,

their keening shrill like wind that rips the rain

and blasts the birches back and black. She stood -

and no one else could have withstood the pain

she felt with every welt, with every strike

and stripe and burst of blood, with every moan.

She stood where Christ could see her constancy,

be comforted that He was not alone.

Compassionate, she watched Him writhe and rise,

a crucifixion in her steady eyes.


O Michelangelo! Why did you carve

such calm in her and leave her cheek so smooth?

Is she unaging then? Have grief and time

no power to affect her flesh, to prove

her old? The fold of stone reveals her youth -

the untouched brow, the slender, open hand,

the firm light fingers, sheltering and still,

and on her lap the body of a man

who's caught in all the silence of the stone -

her Son, her Savior, and her God in stark

repose, unclothed, and wrung into His rest.

Her countenance contemplative to mark

His wounds, this marble Mary moves to tears

for sorrow undiminished by the years.

O you Evangelists! Why do you not

agree in your accounts? Was something lost

when John, in haste, went running to the tomb?

Or were emotions mixed, and hearts so tossed

with grief and joy unspeakable, with fear

and love and inexplicable belief

that all the Gospels babble when they tell

of the rock rolled back, and light, and your relief

to see Him risen through the tears? And why

is nothing written of the woman who

was standing there beneath the cross? Did He

not go and show Himself to Mary too?

Or did she keep her secret all too well -

the Christ-encounter none but she could tell?

Back to Meditations Page 

Back to Second Seven Sorrows, Seven Joys Page

Proceed to next Seven Sorrows, Seven Joys

Reproduced with permission of Sr. Ann Astell.


This page, maintained by The Marian Library/International Marian Research Institute, Dayton, Ohio 45469-1390, and created by Jim Danis , was last modified Wednesday, 08/05/2009 16:00:55 EDT by Varun Gade . Please send any comments to

URL for this page is