At the Foot of the Cross with Mary and John

At the foot of the cross with Mary and John to witness the words Jesus spoke from the cross:
“Father, forgive them, for they know not what they do.”

“Truly, I say to you, today you will be with me in paradise.”

“Woman, behold your son. Behold, your mother.”

“My God, my God, why have you forsaken me.”

“I thirst”

“It is finished”

“Father, into your hands I commend my spirit”

– Jesus of Nazareth

This is the point in scripture that most moves me.  All of the Gospels are moving and rich with meaning, but this moment, when Christ takes the fourth cup, is the apex of the entire Gospel for me.

I know the resurrection is coming and that it is amazing but that resurrection is merely, to borrow from Paul Harvey, “the rest of the story.”

THIS is the moment when death lost.  THIS is the moment when my sins were claimed by God for eradication. THIS is the moment when all of Jesus’ teachings came to fullness and except for Mary and John, none of the apostles had the courage and trust to stand with Him.

Later, John would write Revelation and tell us what God revealed to him about the role of the Virgin Mary there in Heaven.  The “Woman Clothed With The Sun” is there, alive, and shown crowned with stars.  It is an amazing image, but not surprising considering the role she played in this life. From her first humble unqualified “yes” to the plan of God told to her by the angel, to the prophesies in the temple, through the years of raising her son, until she stood in the final moments at the foot of the cross, very nearly alone but for a young man who was barely more than a boy.

I imagine being at the foot of the cross with them.  Not that I would have been there had I been born in that time and followed Christ as he traveled Israel.  I know my sinful cowardly nature and I would have fled with the rest so I am glad I wasn’t there so I can sit here and imagine myself there.

At the foot of the cross, I imagine myself, and I am moved by the giving of Mary to the beloved disciple so that we can can call her mother.  I am moved that the youngest of the disciples is the only one who stood firm with the mother of God. I am moved by the incredible courage, flawless virtue, and love of Jesus.

I see this heroic death and I am moved to pray THIS prayer:

Hail Mary, Full of Grace, The Lord is with Thee; Blessed art thou among women and blessed is the fruit of thy womb, Jesus. Holy Mary, Mother of God, pray for us sinners now and at the hour of our death. Amen.

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