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The Everyday Prayer

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Icon of the Holy Face
Church of Sant'Egidio, Rome

Remembrance of Mary, Mother of Jesus, sorrowful at the foot of the cross, and of al those who live the compassion with those who are crucified, alone and condemned.

Reading of the Word of God

Alleluia, alleluia, alleluia

The Spirit of the Lord is upon you.
The child you shall bear will be holy.

Alleluia, alleluia, alleluia

John 19, 25-27

Near the cross of Jesus stood his mother and his mother's sister, Mary the wife of Clopas, and Mary of Magdala.

Seeing his mother and the disciple whom he loved standing near her, Jesus said to his mother, 'Woman, this is your son.'

Then to the disciple he said, 'This is your mother.' And from that hour the disciple took her into his home.


Alleluia, alleluia, alleluia

Look down, O Lord, on your servants.
Be it unto us according to your word.

Alleluia, alleluia, alleluia

Immediately after the feast of the Exaltation of the Cross, the liturgy invites us to commemorate Blessed Virgin Mary of Sorrows. Despite being a relatively new feast day, it has its roots on Calvary, on that Good Friday, when only a few, including Mary the mother of Jesus, remained beside Jesus as he was crucified. The Gospel of John, in a few lines, tells the extraordinary mystery of Mary’s presence. She grieves deeply in her heart, and while remaining next to her Son, she receives from him a new mission. Perhaps in those hours Mary remembered her encounter with Simeon. Now she fully understood what the elderly man said to her: "This child is destined for the falling and the rising of many in Israel, and to be a sign that will be opposed so that the inner thoughts of many will be revealed—and a sword will pierce your own soul too" (Lk 2:33-35). We could say that the "hour" that Jesus awaited was also the same "hour" awaiting the mother. You cannot separate the Son from the mother, both in their sorrowful passion and in the resurrection. The Passion of Jesus is undoubtedly marked by violence and betrayal, but not only: from the cross, a hymn to a new life reborn also springs forth. From the cross, in fact, Jesus does not ask for consolation for himself, as we would have done for ourselves. No, he does not invoke compassion for himself. He takes care of that little group that was under his cross, first the mother and the young disciple whom he loved, thus offering us an example of his immense love. In the face of the disciple, we can see each one of us. Jesus entrusts us all to his mother, Mary, the Church, the community of believers. And, vice versa, he entrusts to Mary each of us. We are no longer abandoned to a society that cares little for its children. Jesus asks Mary to be our Mother. He entrusts her with a task, a mission, to be the mother of all. The first believers acknowledged that not enough is said of Mary, of this Mother. And it is in a sense very true: Mary is the first of the believers, the first to have a heart like the Son. And the many images of Our Lady of Sorrow held by believers throughout the world show not only the need that we all have for a mother, but that we have found her, or rather, that we have been given her as our mother. It is our task to welcome her. What the evangelist writes about the young disciple is also true for us: "And from that hour the disciple took her into his own home." In truth, this moment under the cross shows the first, great victory of life over death. Yes, that fellowship that developed between the mother and the disciple is the first fruit of the cross. While everything seemed lost and the enemies of justice and the Gospel sang victoriously, the voice of one nailed to a cross gave birth to a new friendship, a new solidarity between the young disciple and an elderly mother. This is the first sign of the resurrection, the first fruit of Jesus’ death. On the cross the law of self-love was defeated, a new friendship began, and a small family, united not by flesh and blood, but by love of the crucified Lord was born.

Memory of the Mother of the Lord