“Now there were standing by the cross of Jesus His Mother … ” John 19:25
IT MAY SEEM DIFFICULT enough in our own day, even with the help and consolation of the Sacraments, to bear trials and sufferings as God would have us bear them. Yet how truly inspiring is the account in the Old Testament of the mother and her seven sons.
In the second book of Maccabees we read of this family. At the time, Antiochus IV, the Syrian King, was attempting to force the Jews into religious conformity with the other nations of the empire. He presided personally at the trial of this family whom he would have wished to convert. In order to break down their spirit he had the eldest boy’s tongue cut out, the skin of his head drawn off, the extremities of his feet and hands chopped off, and then had him thrown into a large frying pan to burn to death. The intrepid mother gave encouragement to her sons, reminding them that God would restore their lives, and watched while each son in turn received the same treatment. To her youngest son she gave special encouragement so that nothing would keep God from reuniting her entire family in heaven:
“I beseech thee, my son, look upon heaven and earth and all that is in them: and consider that God made them out of nothing, and mankind also, so thou shalt not fear this tormentor, but being made a worthy partner with thy brethren, receive death, that in that mercy I may receive thee again with thy brethren” (2 MACH. 7 :28-29). He received death with great faith and courage and the mother followed. To encourage them, modern mothers have the example of the mother of the seven sons and the example of Mary, the Mother of Christ.
Information from The Life of Christ “Our Lord’s Life with Lesson in His Own Words for Our Life Today” The Catholic Press, Inc. 1959 © 1954 edited by Reverend John P. O’Connell, MASTD and Jex Martin, following mainly A Chronological Harmony of the Gospels by Stephen J Hartdegen OFM NIHIL OBSTAT John A McMahon; IMPRIMATUR Samuel Cardinal Stritch, Archbishop of Chicago August 1, 1953. Print. Drawing by Albert H Winkler.