‘Behold, this child is destined for the fall and rise of many in Israel,
and to be a sign that will be contradicted
(and you yourself a sword will pierce)
so that the thoughts of many hearts may be revealed.” (Luke 2:34-35)
“Simeon blessed them and said to Mary his mother, ‘Behold, this child is destined for the fall and rise of many in Israel, and to be a sign that will be contradicted (and you yourself a sword will pierce) so that the thoughts of many hearts may be revealed.” (Luke 2:34-35) Pope Benedict writes “Having given praise to God with the child in his arms, Simeon turns to Mary with a prophetic saying. After the joyful words spoken over the child, what he tells her is a kind of Passion prophecy (cf. Luke 2: 34f.). Jesus is ‘set for the fall and rising of many in Israel,’ for a sign of contradiction. Simeon concludes with a very personal prophecy to the child’s mother: ‘a sword will pierce through your own soul.’ … Simeon’s Passion prophecy becomes quite specific— in the words spoken directly to Mary: ‘a sword will pierce through your own soul’ (Luke 2: 35). … The contradiction against the Son is also directed against the mother and it cuts her to the heart. For her, the Cross of radical contradiction becomes the sword that pierces through her soul. From Mary we can learn what true com-passion is: quite unsentimentally assuming the sufferings of others as one’s own. In the writings of the Church Fathers, a lack of feeling— insensitivity toward the suffering of others— is considered typical of paganism. In contrast to this attitude, the Christian faith holds up the God who suffers with men, and thereby draws us into his com-passion.” 
During the pilgrimage of Theotokos and Nativity we have come to know Mary. As a wife, she loved Joseph. She cherished Joseph’s laughter, relished his virtue, and rested in his masculine holiness. As a mother, she loved her son. She laughed with Jesus. She prayed with Jesus. She lived with Jesus. God was the center of Mary’s life; Jesus was the center of Mary’s life. She lived within. She lived attuned to the movement of God. She was led by God and lived in communion. With her total focus on the things of God, she sought her security from God alone.
Mary lived with God. Therefore, it shouldn’t surprise us that when her son suffers Mary suffers. She lived in communion with him; therefore, will suffer in communion with him.
Merry Christmas: God is with you. His name is Emmanuel: God is with us. With the Incarnation, God chooses to enter the human condition, for God wants to be with us. God wants to be with us, especially when the December decorations are picked up and our homes look like they do January through November. God wants to be with us, especially when we return to the ordinary and life “feels” more mundane. And, God wants to be with us, especially when we suffer. The “Christian faith holds up the God who suffers with men, and thereby draws us into his com-passion.” Suffering is a part of life. It is dismissed by our culture, yet pervades the life of everyone in it. Few of us embrace it, yet all of us face it. Yes, suffering is a part of life. There is a lie whispered deep inside suffering that sounds something like, “I’m alone.” Thus, many of us run from suffering because we fear abandonment more than we fear suffering—none of us want to face suffering alone. Well, Merry Christmas: you’re not alone; God is with you.
When Jesus was grilled by the Scribes and Pharisees, Mary suffered with him. When Jesus was mocked by the Sanhedrin, Mary suffered with him. When Jesus was scourged and crucified, Mary suffered with him. Mary knows that life with Jesus isn’t always easy. Mary knows that life in general isn’t always easy. However, when Mary suffered with her son, her son with her. She was never alone. You are never alone. God is with you.
 Pope Benedict XVI, Jesus of Nazareth: The Infancy Narratives, pg. 85-86
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