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THE FOURTH STATION - JESUS MEETS HIS MOTHER. the most-moving encounter along the Way is this meeting. Amongst the bloodthirsty crowd is Mary, the Woman isolated by her grief; going through hell as she witnesses her bloodied Son getting weaker and weaker. In spite of His anguish, He finds His Mother, and as their eyes meet, so their gaze speaks deeply of love, of compassion, of the desire to soothe away the other's pain. "A sword shall pierce your heart also" - this is what Simeon was talking about over thirty years ago in the Temple on that day of Presentation.

The Pieta - William-Adolphe Bouguereau - Dallas Museum of Fine Arts

In the Cathedral Close at Salisbury, is a life-size sculpture of the Blessed Virgin Mary by the artist Elizabeth Frink. It is quite striking, because she is walking and, more than that, she is striding forward on her pilgrimage. The sculpture is titled The Walking Madonna’ and her face reveals the mystery that she has entered. The following poem was inspired by the "Walking Madonna" and by Michelangelo's "Pieta".

The Walking Madonna (Salisbury) - Elizabeth Frink.



You always appear

Too good to be true, Mary.

We’ve pictured you always serene,

Never exasperated by a fractious child,

Apparently having no feelings.

But surely that initial Yes came

From a moment of overwhelming terror?And the birth tore you to the core?Didn’t he ever cry, that baby,

Give you sleepless nights?

Didn’t he irritate you, that precocious son, dismissing your anxiety with

"Didn’t you know?"

And later

That wounding question,

"Who is my mother?"

My mother would have told him! . .

Perhaps you did too,

But it wasn’t recorded.

Even at the end, you’re pictured beautiful in your sorrow, holding your dead child.

Not like those ravaged faces we see on our screens, raging at the senseless

Killing of the innocent. What’s the reality? Is it more like the aged Madonna, gaunt, face lined by experience; with hint of an arthritic hip, walking towards the complexities of life, away from cloistered peace?

Her hand is polished smooth by the touch of countless hands.

Written by "our own" Anne Lewin from Winchester,

(Watching for the Kingfisher’)


Michelangelo "Pieta" (1499)- Vatican City.

Jesus meets His Mother - Turvey Abbey

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 our homes, to our children and to our spouses, to those places of fracture

and disharmony in our circle of relationships.

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.

Our Lady of Gaza

We grieve with you,

O Mary most sorrowful. 

Your heart was pierced by the prophecy of holy Simeon and Anna.

Pray with us and comfort us in our times of uncertainty and fear of the unknown. Give us tender hearts for those who live with deep anxiety

and insecurity about their future. 

We grieve with you, O Mary most sorrowful. Your heart was pierced by the sudden departure from your homeland to a foreign country.

Our Lady of Palestine

Our Blessed Mother,

Pray with us and comfort us

when we meet unexpected challenges

that draw us away from our complacency.

Give us compassionate hearts

for those who flee their homes

because of violence,

persecution, fear and insecurity

We grieve with you,

O Mary most sorrowful.

Your heart was pierced

by watching Jesus unjustly condemned

and forced to carry

his own cross to his death.

Pray with us and comfort us

when we feel unfairly judged

and humiliated.

Give us tender hearts for all those

who are unjustly condemned,

discriminated against,

and killed in our world today.

We grieve with you, O Mary most sorrowful. Your heart was pierced when you stood at the foot of his cross and watched him declare “It is finished”. Pray with us and comfort us when we face the death of those we love. Give us tender hearts for all those who die due to persecution, abuse, neglect, and lack of resources.

Hear our prayer, O merciful God,

through the intercession

of our Beloved Mother.

Through this prayerful meditation,

may we find comfort and strength

in our own sorrows.

And, knowing that our faith

calls us to care for one another,

may this prayer give us compassion

for our neighbours.

And, at the hour of our death,

may Mary draw close to us,

bringing us to rest in eternity with you, Lord our God. Amen.

Mary in mourning,

shrouded in grief,

Your bitter tears

fall for all mourning mothers,

For all fathers who have buried a child

And all children orphaned in calamity.

May grief lead

not to rage and vengeance

but to brave encounters with others

who are also grieving

and longing for

a different co-existence.

In costly solidarity, we pray. Amen.

"In Time of War in Gaza" -

Church of Scotland

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