|( Painting by Nicholas Mynheer)|
from Golgotha that dark night
with slow steps, filled with immeasurable pain
Only John is at her side,
The nearby rocks shudder
At her lamentation
Everything around her grows silent
Unable to speak.
The road is hushed-pansive
The world is numbed by great pain
And as they walk in this unseemly place,
Like shadows passing in the darkness,
The Virgin sings her funeral dirges,
The most beautiful ones she knows.
The mountains and hillsides echo her dirges,
As she passes by, each flower withers and fades
The Virgin weeps on this day that has become,
The darkest of all days, within God's creation.
Christ is truly the God-Man, but She,
The All-Holy One, is above all, a mother
Now in the distance She hears a voice
That pierces the calm of this desolate place,
Oh, what sadness in that voice,
Who can she be?
What causes her groaning?
"What other poor woman must share this pain?"
"What other poor woman must mourn and sing her dirge
at a loss of another child?"
Another mother weeps,
Yes, a mother sitting alone and cast out,
A mother, shedding dark tears without consolation
She, as the Virgin, has lost her son
She, this unfortunate one, cannot forget him for a moment.
The All-Holy One saw Christ nailed to the cross,
The other, her son also hanging from a tree. Oh, how she weeps! Oh, How she cries!
And no one seems to be moved by her tears.
But the All-Holy One knows her pain
The All-Holy One hears her dirge
And goes to meet her,
To offer her words of love and comfort.
With sweetest of smiles,
The Mother of Christ says,
"Mother, what is your distress?
Why have you cast yourself down in this dark, deserted place?
You are not the only one,
To lose the light of your eyes this day
I, too, have lost my son.
Now cease your cries and tell me about your son."
The other mother, who is guilt ridden,
Lowers her eyes to the ground;
This request wounds her to the very core of her being.
She bows and timidly replies,
"My sister, Judas is his name,
My unfortunate son.
And only one mother in all the world
Can know the knife wound that pierces my soul.
I cast myself to the streets, as a beggar-woman am I,
My God! I should never have aspired,
To the dignity of Motherhood."
But, the All-Holy One understood;
She, too, knows this woman's son.
But the Mother of Christ does not groan;
She does not leave,
In that moment She leaves her pain behind
And for the mother of the traitor,
She sheds her own, precious tears,
She bends and kisses her and strokes her hair,
And She holds her tenderly and firmly in a warm embrace.
She speaks to her with tender words
And gently calms her soul,
She gives her courage
She gives her strength
She raises her up from the ground,
"Come," she says,
You must have some rest
Let us go together
Let us go to my house
You will spend the night with me.
There together, we will share our motherly pain
We will mingle our tears and pray."
How compassionate is the All-Holy one
And, they go forth together,
Leaning on each other, lost in their pensive thoughts,
Two mothers walking in sisterly embrace.
Yes! Because Christ who was hung on Golgotha today,
Gave to us the great commandment:
"That we should love one another."
(The author of the original Greek poem is unknown. The story is not historical. It is a didactic
(morally instructive) folk legend along the lines of the medieval Russian
"Descent of the Virgin into Hell.")