All throughout her life, Mary has been called to abandon herself to God’s plan and surrender to the mysteries unfolding before her. Her journey has led her through poverty and humiliation, uncertainty and incomprehension. But now it has taken her to all the way to the royal city of Jerusalem where on Good Friday she witnesses not the glorious reception of her son as King, but his total rejection and torturous death. Here, Mary faces her greatest test of faith. To human eyes, Christ does not look at all like a great king. Beaten, scourged, stripped and nailed to a cross, Jesus looks more like a tragic failure being mocked and killed by his enemies. His crucifixion at the hands of the Romans seems to mark the end to the kingdom of God he was claiming to build. But Mary is being challenged to see what John’s Gospel emphasizes—that Jesus’ crucifixion is actually his enthronement. His death on the cross is actually his royal exaltation when he is “lifted up” and when “the ruler of this world”—the devil—is cast out (John 12:31-32).
At this crucial moment, however, no human crutch could support Mary. The only thing Mary could cling on to is faith—faith that this is indeed the Son of God, who would reign forever; faith that she really is “the mother of my Lord” as Elizabeth told her; faith that this “sword” is truly part of God’s plan as Simeon prophesied long ago and that her son once again is doing his “father’s business.” When Mary is found “standing by the cross of Jesus,” she would, doubtless, be found standing in great sorrow. But as a faithful disciple to the end, Mary also stands in great faith, trusting in God’s plan for her son and clinging to what the Lord has revealed to her through angels, shepherds, prophets and Jesus himself. John Paul II even teaches that Mary’s faith at this moment would include belief in the words her son spoke to teach the disciples that he “must suffer many things from the elders and chief priests and scribes, and be killed, and on the third day be raised” (Matt. 16:21). Hence, John Paul II concludes that Mary’s hope at the foot of the cross “contained a light stronger than the darkness that reigns in many hearts.”
 John Paul II, Theotokos, 184
Excerpted from Walking With Mary by Edward Sri. Copyright © 2013 by Edward Sri. Excerpted by permission of Image Books, a division of Random House, Inc. All rights reserved. No part of this excerpt may be reproduced or reprinted without permission in writing from the publisher.