- the prophecy of Simeon
- the flight into Egypt
- the loss of the Child Jesus in the Temple
- the meeting of Mother and Son on the way to Calvary
- the death of Christ
- the removal of Christ from the Cross (see Pietá)
- the entombment of Christ
In honor of Our Lady’s sufferings, I share the following excerpt from my article on Pope Benedict's Mariology in De Maria Numquam Satis (pp. 168-169). (Most of my article is capable of being previewed via the "look inside" on Amazon, so if you want to read more, you can there.)
Excerpted from “Divinely Given 'Into Our Reality': Mary’s Maternal Mediation according to Pope Benedict XVI” in De Maria Numquam Satis (UPA, 2009)“Into Our Reality” – Mary and Her Spiritual Maternity over All Humanity
Not only does Our Lady cooperate in redemption, but that cooperation has a direct result for her – spiritual maternity.
At the Cross, through the all-powerful words of her Son, this title “woman” undergoes a transformation. As the divine Logos of God accomplishes what is said, so when he says, “behold your mother,” she takes on a new role, because God the Son declared it: “My word … shall not return to me empty, but it shall accomplish that which I purpose…” (Is 55:11). Had this been the scene of the crucifixion of “any-man,” it would appear that this dying criminal is setting his affairs in order before he passes. However, this man is also true God, the divine Logos, who “rules from the Cross” (1) – and this is a decree for the kingdom. His beloved disciple is now “everyman.”
the Mother of all those who receive your Son Jesus in faith
and choose to follow in his footsteps by taking up his Cross. … (2)
It is because she is on Calvary pierced by the sword of sorrow that she is the Mother of all who follow her Son. The catechesis contained in the prayer to Our Lady of Sheshan beautifully expresses the Pope’s teachings of the spiritual maternity of Mary over all humanity, which has its power in the Word of God.
Those italicized words are what I want to focus on, as they are the words the Pope points us toward. This passage appears as if Jesus is setting his affairs in order before his death, making sure that someone will look after his mother. But the original Greek conveys something more.
Finally, in this glimpse, it is worth highlighting one more significant word: “hour.” In the Gospel of John, as was mentioned above, the hour is frequently used in reference to the hour of the Passion. In the other episode in John’s Gospel in which Mary appears, the Wedding at Cana. “O woman, what have you to do with me? My hour has not yet come” (Jn 2:4). In Cana, we see Mary inquiring about something specific to Jesus’ hour of his Passion. And in the hour, we see him giving her as Mother to the disciple as an “action” of the hour. “From that hour, the disciple received her into his own” (Jn 19:27). Giving his mother is the Savior’s will during his saving Passion. Mary is a gift from her Son to every believer, a gift from the Cross.
Pope Benedict stated in a homily on the Feast of the Assumption of Mary into Heaven: “We have a mother in heaven. And the Mother of God, the Mother of the Son of God, is our Mother. He himself has said so. He made her our own Mother when he said to the disciple and to all of us: ‘Behold, your mother!’” Because Christ proclaims this from the Cross, and because his words are “living and active, sharper than any two-edged sword” (cf. Heb 4:12), this maternity of Mary over all believers is part of the “Good News” of Calvary, a truly personal gift from the Cross that abides in heaven to this day. “We have a Mother in Heaven. Heaven is open. Heaven has a heart” (4).
(1) Jesus of Nazareth, p. 338. Jesus “rules from the Cross, and does so in an entirely new way. Universality is achieved through the humility of communion in faith; this king rules by faith and love, and in no other way.” This is the King of the Jews—written in Latin, Greek, and Hebrew (Jn 19:20). And this is the place where Jesus has drawn all men to himself (Jn 12:32). By implication, this is significant for Mariology: Jesus’ gift of his Mother from the Cross to an Apostle, a prince of the Church to whom a kingdom has been assigned (cf. Lk 22:29), is a regal gift for all men whom he has drawn to himself and constitutes the place of Mary in the Church and vice versa.
(2) Prayer to Our Lady of Sheshan.
(3) General Audience, January 2, 2008. Cf. Homily on the anniversary of the death of Pope John Paul II, April 3, 2006. De la Potterie follows Charles Journet’s translation of this Greek phrase to “into his intimacy.” De la Potterie also points to the parallel of εἰς τὰ ἴδια between John’s prologue (1:11) and the scene on Calvary to argue that in neither case is the Scripture to be read in a merely materialistic way.