(Jesus Christ, Eternal Wisdom) has so thoroughly made his dwelling in the cross, that, without it, you will not find him in this world, and he has so incorporated and united himself with the cross, that we can truly say that Wisdom is the Cross and the Cross is Wisdom. – St. Louis de Montfort, LEW #180
Some time ago I had the pleasure of paying a visit to St. Jerome’s Parish in Brooklyn, NY, where I gave a retreat day on sacred Scripture. While there I had the opportunity to visit the upper church which is home to a magnificent set of Stations of the Cross. As one finds in many well-executed depictions of this powerful and traditional prayer form, there is a rich theology of Our Lady present within these images. The Thirteenth Station of this set is a fine example of this Marian richness.
Here we see a striking visual interpretation of the ancient title of Our Lady as Sedes Sapientiae – that is, “Seat” or, better, “Throne” of Wisdom. Typically images of Our Lady under this title depict her as being seated herself with the Christ Child on her lap, either sitting or standing, looking outward to the world as the One who is wisest of rulers and most just of all judges – literally reigning from the Throne that is Our Lady. Here, however, we see a stunning reinterpretation of this traditional depiction. The scene of the body of Our Lord being taken from the Cross is shown to be an enthronement. Our Lady is seated, and, in receiving her Son here, she becomes the Throne from which the true and eternal Wisdom reigns over the world in the Mystery of the victorious love of his suffering and death on the Cross.
This insight into the intimate and inseparable union between Our Lady and the victory of the Lord through the Mystery of his Cross and Resurrection is very much in harmony with the spirit of Fr. de Montfort who insists in his Act of Total Consecration that the surrender of ourselves to the Queenly and Maternal authority of Our Lady is nothing other than the submission and surrender of ourselves to the royal claim of the Cross of the Savior upon our lives. The throne of a king is the place where he is present in his authority, his judgment, his mercy and his liberality to his people. Eternal Wisdom, the Church reminds us in giving Our Lady the beautiful title Sedes Sapientiae, likewise has a Throne upon which he is present to his people in the fullness of his authority, judgment, mercy and liberality. Those who would truly know this King and submit to him in the greatness and depth of his Mysteries can do no better than to come before him while he sits upon his Throne. And the name of his Throne is Mary.
Sedes Sapientiae, ora pro nobis.