Standing by the cross of Jesus were his mother and his mother’s sister, Mary the wife of Clopas, and Mary of Magdala. John 19:25
This is one of the most widely depicted scenes in sacred art throughout the centuries. It’s the image of the Mother of Jesus standing at the foot of the Cross with two other women. Saint John, the beloved disciple, was also there with them.
This scene is far more than merely an image of the salvation of the world. It is more than the Son of God offering His life for us all. It is more than the greatest act of sacrificial love ever known to the world. It is so much more.
What else does this scene depict? It depicts the most tender love of a human mother as she stands gazing at her own dear Son, dying a horrific death and agonizing with the greatest suffering. Yes, Mary is the Mother of God and Jesus is the Son of God. She is the Immaculate Conception, conceived without sin, and He is the Second Person of the Most Holy Trinity. But He is also her Son and she is also His mother. Thus, this scene is deeply personal, intimate and familial.
Try to imagine the human emotion and experience that both mother and Son endured at this moment. Imagine the pain and suffering in the heart of the mother as she stood gazing upon the brutal treatment of her own Child whom she raised, loved and cared for throughout His life. Jesus was not only the Savior of the World to her. He was her own flesh and blood.
Reflect, today, upon one aspect of this sacred scene. Look at the human bond of this mother and her Son. Set aside, momentarily, the divinity of the Son and the immaculate nature of the mother. Look only upon the human bond they share. She is His mother. He is her Son. Ponder this bond today. As you do, try to let this glimpse penetrate your own heart so that you can begin to feel the love that they shared.
Dearest Mother, you stood at the foot of the Cross of your Son. Though He was God, He was first your Son. You bore Him, raised Him, cared for Him and loved Him throughout His human life. Then, you stood gazing at His bruised and beaten body.
Dearest Mother, you invite me into this mystery of your love for your Son, this day. You invite me to stand by you as you stood by your Son. I accept this invitation. The mystery and depth of your love for your Son is beyond comprehension. But, nonetheless, I accept your invitation to join you in this gaze of love.
Precious Lord, Jesus, I see You, gaze upon You and love You. As I begin this journey with You and Your dear mother, help me to begin on a human level. Help me to begin seeing all that You and Your mother shared. I accept Your profound invitation to enter into the mystery of this holy and human love.
Mother Mary, pray for us. Jesus, I trust in You.