ever closer to the cross
"Near the cross of Jesus there stood His mother." —John 19:25
The cross, because it was an instrument of executing criminals, is naturally repulsive to us. Nevertheless, Jesus wants us near His cross. He even wants us to live our whole lives in the shadow of the cross by taking up our daily cross (Lk 9:23). He wants us to come to the point that we will boast of nothing but Jesus' cross and sharing in it (see Gal 6:14).
Jesus has given His mother Mary to all His disciples to help overcome our revulsion of the cross and to keep us near the cross. We naturally want to distance ourselves from the rejection we risk in reaching out to others, the persecution suffered as we stand up for our faith, the pain of forgiving our enemies, the stress of faithfulness in our vocations, and the sacrifice of serving others. Yet the Lord graces us to stay near these crosses. He calls us to take our mother Mary's hand as she gathers her children around her at the foot of the cross. There we follow Jesus, learn the deep meaning of love, and enter into the mystery of God's plan of salvation. With Mary, stay near the cross.
Prayer: Father, may I pray from my heart with St. Francis of Assisi: "We adore You, O Christ, and we praise You because by Your holy cross You have redeemed the world."
Promise: "Son though He was, He learned obedience from what He suffered; and when perfected, He became the Source of eternal salvation for all who obey Him." —Heb 5:8-9
Praise: Mary, Our Lady of Sorrows, appears only twice in John's gospel and is associated with Jesus and miraculous water each time (Jn 2:3ff; Jn 19:25, 34). Praise You, Jesus, for Your mother's sorrowful tears which mingled with Your miraculous water poured out for our healing.
Reference: (For a related teaching, order our tape Crucified to the World on audio tape AV 40A-3 or video V-40A.)
Nihil Obstat: Reverend Richard L. Klug, February 27, 2003
Imprimatur: †Most Reverend Carl K. Moeddel, Vicar General and Auxiliary Bishop of the Archdiocese of Cincinnati, March 3, 2003