Luke 2:34-35 And Simeon blessed them, and said unto Mary his mother, Behold, this child is set for the fall and rising again of many in Israel; and for a sign which shall be spoken against; (35) (Yea, a sword shall pierce through thy own soul also,) that the thoughts of many hearts may be revealed.
I have often thought about the wonder and excitement that took place when Mary the mother of Jesus was visited by Gabriel the angel and told of her important work as the mother of the promised Messiah. What things did Mary store in her heart when after hours of labour in an animal stall that as she held the promised seed she was approached by distinguished guests bearing rich gifts.
Yet I have not often dwelt on the suffering Mary felt when she watched Jesus her son die on the cross. I have indeed contemplated it, but now these thoughts strike afresh with new focus.
A sword that pierces the soul! No words can portray this kind of suffering. Her son's experience was not like John the Baptist where his death took place in a moment of time. For Mary, she had to watch for hours and hours. She had to listen to and watch the cruel and violent actions of the Roman soldiers against her son. Who can comprehend the battle that was waged in her mind? The enormity of injustice that she was forced to witness. Did not Satan tempt her to rage against the Romans? Was she not tempted to feel bitterness towards the Pharisees? Where now were all his so called followers? Why don't they help Him! Why is God letting this happen? Where is the justice in all this? Life seems pointless and death feels inviting.
Could it be that having observed her son for 33 years she had learnt to be like Him? To witness His patience in the midst of strife, His peace in the midst of turmoil. Outside of the sufferings of Christ who would have suffered more than her? Who else has had a sword pierce their soul? None of these questions should cause us to marvel at Mary as many do as some kind of immaculate saint specially preserved by God, certainly not. But her silent suffering as a human just like you and I is testament to the power of Christ in the human heart. In the Divine realm, Jesus was not hers to give, but as a mother just like any mother, she still had to give her son from her heart. Here is a demonstration of Agape love - Mary yielded everything she naturally clung to as a mother - she gave everything she had in response to the love she witnessed on the Cross being demonstrated for her as well as you and I.
I am thankful for the example of Mary. I am so thankful that I read no account of bitterness, anger or scorn in the gospel accounts. How easily this could have happened. How many nights did Jesus pray for his mother that she would be strengthened to endure this piercing of her soul. Mary speaks to us such hope of what God can do in a human soul. She shows us that in the Spirit of Christ we can give the precious things to us, to God. Indeed the Sword in Mary's soul produced in her the supreme weapon of faith.