The streets of our towns are filled with people
who carry their personal crosses,
who are bruised, battered, grieving and broken.
Jesus invites us to journey with him and with them,
and to reflect on his suffering as it continues in the lives of his people.
Fourth Station: Jesus meets his mother Mary
They just look at each other – words cannot express how they feel.
What he saw in his mother’s eyes
must have hurt him more than the raw pain of his wounds.
This for Jesus is the most painful time of all.
This is his bereavement.
We adore You, O Christ, and we praise You.
Because by your holy Cross You have redeemed the world.
Simeon blessed them and said to Mary, his mother: "This child is destined to cause the falling and rising of many in Israel, and to be a sign that will be spoken against, so that the thoughts of many hearts will be revealed. And a sword will pierce your own soul too." (Luke 2:35)
The violence inflicted upon Jesus
was etched into the very heart of his mother,
as she watched the agony of her son.
How much mothers suffer when their children suffer.
It is hard to imagine the grief and distress of Mary
as she sees what is happening to Jesus.
How deeply the pain and sorrow she felt.
Mothers (indeed all parents)
who go through the unnaturalness of losing a child;
children, too, who lose parents,
those who have nurtured and loved them.
At this time too, children who cannot visit dying parents, at home or in hospital.
What of those who yearn to be parents and cannot....
Near the cross of Jesus stood his mother and his mother's sister,
Mary the wife of Cleophas, and Mary of Magdala.
Seeing his mother and the disciple whom he loved standing near her,
Jesus said to his mother, "Woman, this is your son."
Then he said to the disciple, "This is your mother."
And from that hour the disciple took her into his home. (John 19:25-27)
Jesus shows us his care for Mary as he entrusts her to John,
the beloved disciple.
It did not take away her fear and pain,
but it meant that she was not alone,
as we are not alone.
Jesus makes sure that we are never alone.
"I am with you always, even to the end of time." (Matthew 28:16)
We see Mary’s pain in the mothers and fathers who watch their children wasting their lives to drugs, addictions, false ideologies, and suicide, in the women and men who suffer violence, and the ongoing threat of violence even at home.
We see Mary’s pain in the child coping
with the breakdown of a parent’s marriage, in the couple trying desperately to rebuild their relationship.
"Here I saw a part of the compassion of Our Lady Saint Mary:
for Christ and she were so made one in love,
that the greatness of her loving was the cause of the greatness of her pain.
In this, I saw an example of natural love, strengthened by grace,
that creatures have for him;
which kind love was most fully and over passingly shown in his sweet Mother.
For ever the higher, the mightier, the sweeter that love be,
the more sorrow it is to the lover to see that body in pain that is loved."
(Julian of Norwich - VIII Revelation, Ch 18)
Jesus, we remember the gaze that rested between you and your mother.
In that moment of pain there was also a moment of deep and enduring love.
Jesus, give us the courage to bring that love
into the deepest recesses of the world around us,
and our families, friends and neighbours,
may experience your victory over grief and pain.
Hail Mary, full of grace, the Lord is with thee.
Blessed art thou among women,
and blessed is the fruit of thy womb, Jesus.
Holy Mary, Mother of God, pray for us sinners
now, and at the hour of our death.
Jesus, you looked through the crowd
and saw your mother’s eyes.
Her love gave you the strength to carry on.
Walk with us.
When we don’t want to listen,
open our ears to hear.
When it would be easier to look away,
open our eyes to see.