Behold, Your Mother: Comfort from the Cross

Today the liturgy drops us from the heights of yesterday’s victory feast—the Exaltation of the Holy Cross—to the foot of that Cross where we mourn with Our Lady of Sorrows.

It is a long step down.Virgin-Mary-At-The-Foot-Of-The-Cross-3-150x150

Mary, if you think about it, did not have on that terrible day, the advantage of hindsight that allows us to exalt the Cross.  She stood at Golgotha, wrapped in the darkness that engulfed her son.  Any parent who has knelt by the bed of a sick or dying child has a small window into her pain, into that ache and suffering that goes hand-in-hand with love.

“Woman, behold your son” – the dying man’s last words to his sorrowing mother.  Take your eyes off me for a moment, he says.  Look on the one whom I love, for whom I hang on this cross.  Then to that disciple:  “Behold, your mother.”

“Behold … behold.”  Look.  Their eyes now on each other, united in an ocean of love and pain.

When we go to the foot of the Cross today, bearing our suffering, we do so with the hindsight that reveals the Cross to be exalted.  We know the tomb is empty, that through the Cross, Christ triumphed over sin and death.  Yet moving forward is hard.  We need to bring that hindsight into our foresight to bear the crosses that are ours to bear.

Thanks be to God, we are not alone.

Take a minute to meditate on the crucifixion as recorded in John 19:17-30.  Enter into the scene.  Take the place of the Beloved Disciple and stand with Mary at the Cross.  Now listen to Jesus, putting your name in the blanks:

“Woman, behold, __________.”

“_________, behold, your mother.”

Look into Mary’s eyes, where pain has dissolved in glory.  She who has gone before us is also here for us.  She is our loving advocate, Mother, source of comfort and strength—a gift to us from her Son.

    O sweet Mother! Font of love,
Touch my spirit from above,
Make my heart with yours accord.

Make me feel as you have felt
Make my soul to glow and melt
 With the love of Christ, my Lord

(from the hymn, Stabat Mater)

Our Lady of Sorrows, pray for us today that we will have strength to carry our crosses to the foot of his Cross, and continue in the love of your Son. (Tweet this)

This post originally appeared on Come into the Word.


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Sarah Christmyer

Sarah Christmyer is co-developer with Jeff Cavins of The Great Adventure Catholic Bible study program. She serves as Strategic Consultant of The Great Adventure and is author or co-author of a number of the studies. Sarah has thirty years of experience leading and teaching Bible studies. She helped launch Catholic Scripture Study and is co-author of "Genesis Part I: God and His Creation" and "Genesis Part II: God and His Family," published by Emmaus Road. Sarah has a BA in English literature from Gordon College in Wenham, MA, and is working toward a Masters of Theology at St. Charles Borromeo Seminary in Philadelphia. Raised in a strong evangelical family, she was received into the Catholic Church in 1992. Sarah also writes at comeintotheword.com/.

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