Holy Mary

Near the Cross of Jesus Stood His Mother.

We were a slow procession behind Jesus, coming at last to the place of crucifixion,

As the cross rose up my brothers slipped away

but I stayed close beside the Lord’s mother and her companions.

Her Strength Appalled Me

She did not cry out in her pangs,

She did not fall.

She stood.

Near the cross of Jesus stood his mother.

Even the earth trembled when the wood bit into the ground, and the sky spun round,

but she stood …

tears and dust flowed over her face and dropped onto her breast.

a seamless garment, woven by her hands lay on the floor.

She Gazed

She gazed up

and her gaze was a continuous ‘yes.’

Even now, the yes of her life, the yes for the life of the world, was evident in her posture.

She did not faint in her pain,

though the pale body of her child hung before her eyes.

His blood ran out as each heartbeat took him closer to the end, to his accomplishment,

and still she stood, planted on the earth

and gazed, lifting her eyes to her Lord.

Jesus Calls to the Woman and to Her Son

At last, he turned his gaze to her, and a great sigh flowed out through her breast.

In His labor he spoke softly,

“Woman, behold your son.”

She did not turn to look at me, but I felt the arc of her maternal love curve around me, even there, she held me, caught up in her embrace, in her adoring love for her Son. Beloved and loving she held me close to him, and it seemed as though I came even closer to Him then, closer than I had been when I laid my head on His breast at supper.

He turned His gaze to me, and oh, I longed to stay in that gaze forever.

“Son behold your Mother.”

I looked to her.

She opened her arms for a moment and in my mind, childlike, I climbed onto her lap.

Then, it seemed as though I could be one of many, taking shelter there, because I knew that all my brothers and sisters would come and she would embrace them and every person who ever needed a mother would come to her because her whole being was turned to her Son and only ever loving in the Beloved. They would come and shelter by that heart that beats for God alone, and she would guide them to the heart of her Son.

Her Strength Inspired Me

Just for a moment, even in her grief, her eyes smiled at me as she turned her thoughts towards doing His will, once again, and prepared to do His work of love. A single ray of sunlight pierced the dark and just for a moment, we seemed to be far away from that place, and I glimpsed a vision of a place, where God lives in the midst of His people.

Mother of the Church

Mother of My Lord

Mother of mine

Mother of all who are reborn in water and the Spirit ….

direct my gaze to your Son,

draw me with you to His side.

[Readings: Gn 3:9-15, 20; Jn 19:25-34]

Deborah van Kroonenburg

I am a Secular Carmelite, mother and grandmother, worked in the NHS for many years as a midwife and health visitor, and now work for my UK Diocese, in Marriage and Family Life and Catechesis, as well as helping my husband who is a Deacon in our parish.

1 Comment

  1. Elma on May 29, 2023 at 6:26 pm

    Thank you. This was such a beautiful, touching and inspiring reflection. I felt as if I was standing there next to Mother Mary, receiving her love, courage and strength. And feeling Jesus’s eyes piercing mine as he spoke…this is your Mother.
    Thank you again so much. 🙏✝️🕊

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