This post is part of our Lenten series, journeying the Stations of the Cross. In this meditation on the Fourth Station of the Cross, Jesus Is Met by His Blessed Mother, Contributor Tammi brings into focus Mary’s presence both as a mother to her son and mother to all of us.
I’m here…”the blessed mother
Tears fell down my face the first time I saw this scene from Mel Gibson’s The Passion of the Christ. A mother’s heart torn apart by the barbaric jeers and beatings of the Romans on the beautiful body of her son. My own heart torn as I thought about my own son, the pain his suffering would bring to my own heart. As quickly as that image of the adult Jesus enters our mind, this movie rewinds to the simpler times in the early life of Jesus, and we are tossed into the reality of who Jesus was to Mary… her baby boy. We watch as the young boy Jesus falls outside his home. Mary rushes to the side of her son to hold Him. Her arms enfold Him as she picks Him up.
“I’m here…” she seems to say.
She cradles Him in her arms. He finds solace in her arms, comfort. She probably whispered sweet words of love into his little ear. She held His most Sacred Heart to her own beating heart. Those same arms gently try to gather Him up as he lays bleeding on the ground as a grown man. His blood is precious, every part of Him holy. We also watch as we see the strength that her presence gives Him. As their eyes meet, He finds strength in His mission from her presence. She provides comfort to His humanity.
I imagine these are the words that settled upon the heart of John when Jesus gives John to His mother, and gives His mother to John. John was going to be able to find that same strength and comfort from Our Lady that Jesus did. Gasping for air, Jesus made great effort to speak from the cross. We see the importance of Jesus giving us, like John, the gift of His mother from the cross. He knows that her heart is pierced with love for Him, and likewise will be pierced for love of each of us. He knows that she can help us as we try to live heaven here on earth.
When Jesus saw his mother there, and the disciple whom he loved standing nearby, he said to her, ‘Woman, here is your son,’ and to the disciple, ‘Here is your mother.’ From that time on, this disciple took her into his home.”John 19: 26-27
Jesus invites us to “take her into our home.” We need the tender compassion that our Lady’s presence can bring into our lives. She can help us to live a life of holiness and virtue. Her early words to the servants at the wedding feast at Cana, “do whatever He tells you” (John 2:5) show us that her will is only to do the work of the Lord. She will help us to also model this same will in our own lives.
She whispers these words to you and I when she sees us falling, failing to walk the journey Christ has laid before us. Her words bring comfort to our weary bones and strength to our journey. She simply waits for our invitation to help.
I can recount several times in my life when I have called out to Our Lady to help me. It usually is when I am struggling to honor my husband or frustrated at my inability to get through to one of my children in parenting. I know that she has walked these roads before me with such grace. Uninhibited by the sinful nature that I possess, she can show me how to live my life in service of those whom I love.
However, I also know that I have struggled in the past with my relationship with Our Lady. I have let others try to define for me what her role is in my life. I have allowed terms like “slave to Mary,” used by well-intentioned friends, to mar my image of who she is to be in my life. I have pushed her to the side so as to not fall prey to idolizing her. All the while, ignoring the conviction of the Holy Spirit that she is here to teach me how to love her Son. Her life is a life filled with grace, suffering, and docility to the Spirit. She is who I wish to emulate.
“I’m here”… (I want these to be the words that come from my lips to Our Lady):
I’m here… for every lesson that you can offer me.
I’m here… to learn how to live more clearly the will of the Father in my own life.
I’m here… to teach my children how to love the Lord and live holy lives.
I’m here… to learn how to honor my husband like you honored St. Joseph.
I’m here… to learn how to accept suffering knowing that God alone directs my path.
I’m here… for every person who is placed in my life to love and nurture.
I’m here… as I learn every day that all my actions can be small sacrifices to Our Lord.
Our Lady speaks these words to you, as well. She is waiting to draw you ever closer to her Sorrowful Heart. She knows your burdens, your pains, and your struggles. She wants to help you.
Will you accept this invitation at the start of Lent to allow Our Lady to comfort you? Will you allow her to draw you closer to the Heart of our Son? She awaits the invitation to be welcomed into your home.