It is here, dear Daughters, that you will come to see and understand the meaning and origin of the vocation of Spiritual Motherhood. As Mary holds her crucified Son upon her heart, so she holds at that moment all those "Christs" to come to whom she is Mother now. At that moment, "every sinner who would be indwelt by Christ was laid in Mary's arms, and she received them all. Humankind was born again." Behold the depth of our Mother's love, how she draws each person, each of them as if her only child, to her sinless heart. Each now is in her tender care. So it must be for you Daughters. Embrace Jesus Crucified, hold Him and keep Him close to your hearts, and with Mary draw every sinner, especially those called to serve at His altar, there to be nourished and strengthened by your prayers and cleansed by your tears of love.
“They took His body down from the cross and laid it in His Mother’s arms, and she held it upon her heart; and, in it, all those Christs to come to whom she was Mother now.
That first birth of Christ in Bethlehem was painless, because Mary His Mother was sinless and He was the son of God. But this mysterious birth of Christ on Calvary began in the travail and agony of the whole world borne by one man and one woman, God-made-Man and Mary His Mother: because this was the birth of Christ in us, Christ the redeemer born in the souls of sinners; and every sinner who would receive Him in all time became Mary’s child, even her only child; every sinner who would be indwelt by Christ was laid in Mary’s arms, and she received them all.
Human kind was born again.
Already, even in the agony of that night of sorrow, Mary, who had shared Christ’s passion, shared His peace. In the consummation of His pain, and her pain and suffering, she knew the beginning of the joy that would never end; she knew the birth of life in human souls would be immortal life, never ending. She knew the utter joy of experiencing the consummation of His love for men, and of loving them with all His love.
She herself was indwelt by Him now as really as her body had been indwelt by His advent. Now she who had given Him life would live His life forever; her life would be His, her words His words, her acts His acts; her heart beating, the beating of His heart.
She who had said long ago in Nazareth, “Let it be unto me according to your word” was the first of all human creatures since Christ was conceived to be one with Him. She gave Him her life, and He gave back her life in His forever. He gave His life, too, to all those who would receive Him through the ages: “The glory that you have given me I have given them, so that they may be one, as we are one, I in them and you in me, that they may become completely one” (Jn 17:22–23).
As the dead Christ lay in His Mother’s arms, she laid to her heart all those sinners to whom He would give not only life but His own life: in baptism, that first stream of the waters of birth, cleansing and irrigating the soul; in the sacrament of penance, restoring the soul of the sinner to its primal innocence. She saw them as God sees them. No matter how battered and bruised they had been by sin, the innocence of Christ was restored to them, they were restored to His beauty; no matter how darkened their minds and hearts had been by evil and by the oppressive sadness that follows upon evil, they shone now with the purity, the glory, of Christ of Tabor, clothed in His loveliness that burns with the splendor of a fire of snow. No matter how cynical and faded and old their sins had made them, they were restored to their childhood now, to Christ’s childhood. Now they could possess the kingdom of heaven in a wildflower, a stream of water, or a star, and now in the body of Christ Mary took them, each of them as her only child, to her sinless heart.
And there from the summit of Calvary, at the foot of the cross with her dead child in her arms, Mary saw how in all the centuries to come Christ would be born again day after day, hour after hour, in the sacred Host. She heard the multitudinous whisper of the words of consecration coming to her on Calvary from every part of the world, from every place on earth: from the great cathedrals of the world; from the little village huts that are makeshift for churches; from the churches themselves, whether they were beautiful or cheap and tawdry; from the chapels and wards of hospitals; from prisons and from concentration camps; from the frozen forests of Siberia—from dawn till dusk, and from dusk till dawn, the words of consecration on the breath of men, and Jesus lifted up, as He had been lifted up on the cross, in the sacred Host.
And she saw, through the darkness that covered Calvary, how at all those Masses those who were to be her children and the children of God would flock to the altars to receive her Son in the Host—little children clothed in the white muslin and gossamer of their first Communion clothes, old people leaning upon their canes, young men and women who would carry Christ in their hearts to face and conquer the everyday world.
She saw, too, how He would be carried into prisons and hospitals and concentration camps, to be given to the lonely and the sick and the dying. And how in all these people, in every one of them, sinners as well as saints, Christ her son would live again and overcome the world.
So it was that when Jesus was taken down from the cross, Mary received her dead son into her arms and took the whole world to her heart.”
Excerpt From: Caryll Houselander. “Way of the Cross.”