The Pieta

I couldn’t take my eyes off her. It’s beautiful. All I can do is stare.

I stand there in Rome right in front of Michelangelo’s Pieta, his depiction of the moment they peel Christ’s body from the cross and lay it in his mother’s arms. A mother holding her dead son, her murdered son. She watched him suffer, she watched them beat him, and she watched him die. She saw the crown of thorns wedged into his skull and his flesh hanging on his bones. All I can do is stare.

I reflected on Christ’s sacrifice and offering of His life for me. Staring at the pieta and thinking of His death made my whole body ache. My heart was overwhelmed and breaking for what he had done for me. Was I worth it and why did he love me so, so much?

And that’s when it hit me. All I wanted to do was throw my arms around Him. I wanted to cling, hug, hold tight and never let go. I was full of thankfulness, gratefulness, and love.

Why isn’t she holding him? He’s just laying there draped on her lap and she isn’t even holding him? When my kid bleeds from banging their head, or knee or elbow, I hold them tight to help make the pain go away. My arms are instantly around my child to help heal and make it right. To show love and compassion.

Michelangelo decided to depict this treasured moment between mother and son in a very specific way. I was struck by my controlling response. She’s not holding him, she’s not gripping him trying to make the pain go away.

When we meet Mary, she is visited by an angel to declare her the mother of Christ because she is faithful. Her response to one of the hardest jobs of all time is “If this is what the Lord wants from me, then I will do it.” A woman of incredible faith which means trust. She trust God almighty to be who He is. She trust God almighty to have a plan. She trust that God knows more, loves more, and sees more than she can. She can trust that even though she doesn’t understand, God does. She trusts him.

Because I am a control freak, trust, yes even trust in God, is very hard for me. It is one of my greatest struggles in my relationship with Him.

So my response to Christ’s suffering is to cling and make the pain the go away. I want or have to do something. In this image, I see a woman who trusts that God has a plan. A son she bore, but was never really hers, Christ belonged to the world from the beginning, and He had a very special plan. She doesn’t make the pain go away because she knows that God is doing something rare and special in that moment. She lets go of her control and knows that her son belongs to all people in that moment.

She trusts God to be enough for her. She trusts God to know better.

I want to be more like her.

To this day, the Pieta remains my favorite piece of created art, both visually and spiritually.

Have a blessed Easter weekend.