This station brings up for me, and probably for every parent, all of the deep, continuous fears that we have for our children. My own daughter is thirteen now, and I don’t think I’ll ever stop being afraid for her. Throughout the day little fears grip me, and I pray for her, asking God to protect her. I don’t entertain the illusion that this means she’ll never suffer harm or hardship. The prayers are for me, so that I can feel that I’ve done something. If God incarnate had to suffer, it seems unlikely that my own beloved child can escape it. And of course she’ll learn and grow through suffering, as we all do. But, oh, is it hard to watch.
Mary’s child lived in a more dangerous time and place than I do, and reflecting on her heightens my awareness of all of those parents in the world who are living in constant and rational terror that their children will be killed. Again and again I see photos of refugee children washed up on the shores of the Mediterranean, their dead bodies held by strangers. An illusion of some degree of control is probably necessary for surviving parenthood, but for these children’s parents that illusion no longer exists. They couldn’t control war, or the sea, or the actions of strangers who might or might not be kind to them. I know that they reached towards their children, trying to bless and save them. I know that, if they are still alive, they are living on the cross.