Advent Reflection – The Seventh Sorrow of Mary : Christ is Laid in the Tomb

From CWS member Mary Pezzulo, originally published on

Darkness covered the land, when Christ gave up the Ghost.

Darkness was coming again, when they brought His body to the cave.

Dark had settled for the night, when they left.

For Miriam, it had been dark all day long, and her heart stayed in the tomb.

She had given birth to Him in a cave and wrapped Him in swaddling cloths; now, she laid him in a cave and left His lifeless body there.

For the first time since He was born, she walks away.

It is the most terrifying thing she has ever had to do. Grief is gnawing at her like acid; she could die of the grief at any moment, but she has to live. She wants to lie down in the tomb and die with Christ, but she has to leave Him there. She has to give Him room to perform His miracle.

He promised to return. “The Son of Man is going to be betrayed into the hands of men. They will kill him, and after three days he will rise.”

Miriam believes Him. She believes with all her will when her heart is torn to shreds by trauma. This belief provides no comfort because it feels like madness, but she holds on. She has followed Him for three years; she followed Him all day, at every step of His torture and drawn-out execution. She suffered what He suffered. She cried until she could barely see and until there were no tears left. She placed her only Son, the flesh of her flesh, in the tomb, and allowed John the Beloved to leave her away. She feels nothing but agony, pain bordering on insanity. Her Son descended into hell and her heart was right where He was. But she still believes Him.

Return, Emmanuel, God who came to pitch His tent among us. Return to those who have waited in darkness for the fulfillment of your promise.

Return to us, O Wisdom that comes forth from the Mouth of God, ordering all things from one end of Creation to the other. Come again and teach us the wisdom that is madness to those who are perishing.

Return and redeem us, O Adonai, who appeared to Moses on Sinai in the bush that burned but could not be consumed.

Return and deliver us, O Rod of Jesse before whom even kings are silent.

Return, O key of David, O scepter of the House of Israel. What you open, none can shut, and what you shut cannot be opened. Come and lead the prisoners out of the place of death.

Return, O Dayspring, Sun of Justice and Splendor of Eternal Light. Return the light to those who have gone into darkness.

Return, O King of all Nations, who gathers the people into one. Come and redeem us who are clay, and have in our sin returned to the clay.

Return, O Emmanuel, King and Lawgiver, Hope of Nations, Redeemer, return and save us.

Fear not, Miriam, for on the third day, your Son will come to you.

Behold, all things fulfilled, which were spoken by the angel.

Miriam’s long vigil is over, but she cannot rest.

The sword prophesied by Simeon has run her through the final time.

Now, there is nothing left but to wait.