16th Day — Simeon's Prophecy to Mary
And thy own soul a sword shall pierce. (St. Luke ii. 35.)
1. At these words of holy Simeon all Mary's joy was changed to sorrow. Her divine Son was to be a sign that would be contradicted. His life was to be one long series of disappointments, outrages, insults, ill-usage from those He had come to save. Who can describe the grief of Mary at hearing this? Her darling Son, her God, was to be persecuted even to the death.
2. From that time forth Simeon's words were ever present to her mind. There came up before her all the prophecies, the full meaning of which she had not realized before. She remembered holy David's words, "They pierced My hands and My feet," and she thought as she watched the divine Infant of His eventual crucifixion. The cry of the Psalmist, "My God, why hast Thou forsaken Me?" reminded her of the dereliction of His human soul. From this time forward she was indeed the Mother of sorrows.
3. Yet God in thus giving Mary so large a share in the sorrow of her Son was manifesting His special love for her. "Whom the Lord loveth He chastiseth." (Prov. iii. 12.) Mary's chastisement was great in proportion to His love for her. If we remembered this we should welcome suffering, not shrink from it, and say in real earnest:
Holy Mother, pierce me through,
In my heart each wound renewOf my Saviour crucified.