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Fourth Station of the Cross
Jesus meets his Mother

with Cardinal Joseph Ratzinger       
Good Friday 2005, at the Colosseum in Rome

From the Gospel according to Luke (2: 34-35, 51):
Simeon blessed them and said to Mary his mother: “Behold this child: he is destined for the fall and for the rising of many in Israel, destined to be a sign that is rejected - and a sword will pierce your own soul too - so that the secret thoughts of many may be laid bare.” And his mother stored up all these things in her heart.

On the Way of the Cross of Jesus, there is also Mary, his Mother. During his public life she had had to step aside, to make space for the birth of Jesus’ new family, the family of his disciples. She had also had to hear his words: “Who is my mother? Who are my brothers?... Anyone who does the will of my Father in heaven, he is my brother and sister and mother” (Mt 12:48-50). Now we see that she is the Mother of Jesus, not only in her body, but in her heart. Before even she had conceived him in her body, she conceived him in her heart, thanks to her obedience. She had been told: “Behold, you are to conceive a son ... He will be great ... the Lord God will give him the throne of his ancestor David” (Lk 1:31). Yet, shortly after, she had heard from the mouth of the elderly Simeon other words: “A sword will pierce your own soul too” (Lk 2:35). She then recalled the words of the prophets, words like these: “Harshly dealt with, he bore it humbly, he never opened his mouth; like a lamb that is led to slaughter” (Is 54:7). Now all this becomes reality. In her heart she had always guarded the words the angel had spoken to her when it had all begun: “Do not be afraid, Mary” (Lk 1:30). The disciples fled, she did not flee. She stayed there, with the courage of a mother, with the fidelity of a mother, with the goodness of a mother, and with her faith, which resisted in the obscurity: “Blessed is she who believed” (Lk 1:45). “But the Son of Man, when he comes, will he find faith on earth?” (Lk 18:8). Yes, in that moment Jesus knew: he will find faith. In that hour, this is his great consolation.

Holy Mary, Mother of the Lord, you remained faithful when the disciples fled. Just as you believed when the angel announced to you what was incredible – that you were going to become the mother of the Most High - so too you believed at the hour of his greatest humiliation. Thus it was that, at the hour of the cross, at the hour of the darkest night of the world, you became Mother of believers, Mother of the Church. We pray to you: teach us to believe, and help us so that our faith may become the courage to serve and the gesture of a love which comes to help and knows how to share in suffering.

Our Father... Christ above in torment hangs, she beneath beholds the pangs of her dying, glorious Son.

4ª estación - Jesús se encuentra con su Madre       

Meditaciones y Oraciones del Cardenal Joseph Ratzinger (Papa Benedicto XVI)

4ème station - Jésus rencontre sa Mère       

Méditations et prières du Cardinal Joseph Ratzinger (Pape Benoît XVI) au Colisée

Music: from 'Triduum - Contemporary Sacred Music' by David Bevan & Neil Wright.
To download the free mp3 audio recordings individually, right / double click on the blue play buttons.
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with Julian of Norwich      

We adore you, O Christ, and we praise you.
Because by your holy cross you have redeemed the world.

My Son, have pity on me, I carried you nine months in my womb, and nursed you for three years, and have reared you and brought you up. I beseech you, my Child, look at the heavens and the earth and see everything that is in them and know that it was God who made them all out of nothing. Accept death now so that in God’s mercy I may receive you back with your brothers. (II Maccabees 7; v 27-29)

Here I saw a part of the compassion of Our Lady Saint Mary: for Christ and she were so made one in love, that the greatness of her loving was the cause of the greatness of her pain. In this, I saw an example of natural love, strengthened by grace, that creatures have for him; which kind love was most fully and over passingly shown in his sweet Mother. For ever the higher, the mightier, the sweeter that love be, the more sorrow it is to the lover to see that body in pain that is loved. (Julian of Norwich - VIII Revelation, Ch 18)

I love you Jesus, my love, above all things; I repent with my whole heart for having offended you.
Never permit me to separate myself from you again.
Grant that I may love you always, then do with me as you will.

Our Father ... Hail Mary ... Glory be.

with St John Paul II in the Jubilee Year
Good Friday, 21 April 2000, at the Colosseum in Rome
- also in French, German, Italian, Portuguese & Spanish

“Do not be afraid, Mary, for you have found favour with God. And behold, you will conceive in your womb and bear a son, and you shall call his name Jesus. He will be great, and will be called the Son of the Most High; and the Lord God will give to him the throne of his father David, and he will reign over the house of Jacob for ever; and his kingdom will have no end” (Lk 1:30-33).

Mary remembered these words. She often returned to them in the secret of her heart. When she met her Son on the way of the Cross, perhaps these very words came to her mind. With particular force.
“He will reign... His kingdom will have no end”, the heavenly messenger had said.

Now, as she watches her Son, condemned to death, carrying the Cross on which he must die, she might ask herself, all too humanly: So how can these words be fulfilled? In what way will he reign over the House of David? And how can it be that his kingdom will have no end?
Humanly speaking, these are reasonable questions.
But Mary remembered that, when she first heard the Angel’s message, she had replied: “Behold, I am the handmaid of the Lord. May it be done to me according to your word” (Lk 1:38).

Now she sees that her word is being fulfilled as the word of the Cross. Because she is a mother, Mary suffers deeply. But she answers now as she had answered then, at the Annunciation: “May it be done to me according to your word”.
In this way, as a mother would, she embraces the cross together with the divine Condemned One.
On the way of the Cross Mary shows herself to be the Mother of the Redeemer of the world.
“All you who pass by the way, look and see whether there is any suffering like my suffering, which has been dealt me” (Lam 1:12).
It is the Sorrowful Mother who speaks,
the Handmaid who is obedient to the last,
the Mother of the Redeemer of the world.

O Mary, who walked the way of the Cross with your Son,
your mother’s heart torn by grief, but mindful always of your fiat
and fully confident that He to whom nothing is impossible
would be able to fulfil his promises,
implore for us and for the generations yet to come
the grace of surrender to God’s love.
Help us, in the face of suffering, rejection, and trial,
however prolonged and severe, never to doubt his love.
To Jesus, your Son, honour and glory for ever and ever. Amen.

with Papa San Giovanni Paolo II in 2003
- also in French, German, Italian, Portuguese & Spanish

From the Gospel according to Luke (2:34-35, 51)
Simeon said to Mary, his mother, "Behold, this child is set for the fall and rising of many in Israel, and for a sign of contradiction, that thoughts out of many hearts may be revealed. And a sword will pierce through your own soul also"... His mother kept all these things in her heart.

The Mother. Mary meets her Son along the way of the Cross. His Cross becomes her Cross, his humiliation is her humiliation, the public scorn is on her shoulders. This is the way things are. So it must seem to the people around her, and this is how her own heart reacts: "And a sword will pierce through your soul also" (Lk 2:35). The words spoken when Jesus was forty days old are now fulfilled. They are now completely fulfilled. And so, pierced by that invisible sword, Mary sets out towards her Son's Calvary, her own Calvary. Christian devotion represents her with this sword penetrating her heart, in paintings and sculpture. Mother of sorrows!
"You who shared his suffering!", say the faithful, who know in their hearts that the mystery of this suffering can be expressed in no other way. Although this pain is hers, striking deep in her maternal heart, the full truth of this suffering can be expressed only in terms of a shared suffering - 'com-passion'. That word is part of the mystery; it expresses in some way her unity with the suffering of her Son.

Holy Mary, our Mother and Sister in the journey of faith, with you we call upon your Son Jesus.
Kyrie, eleison.
Holy Mary, you did not hesitate along the way to Calvary, with you we call upon your Son Jesus.
Kyrie, eleison.

Gina, from England      
"When I went to Medjugorje I had quite a conversion in my relationship with our Blessed Mother Mary. It was when I came to the Station of the Cross and I saw Jesus looking at his mother that I realised if Jesus needed her as his mother then so did I."

with St John Henry Newman

V. We adore you, O Christ, and we bless you.
R. Because by your holy Cross you have redeemed the world.

Jesus rises, though wounded by His fall, journeys on, with His Cross still on His shoulders. He is bent down; but at one place, looking up, He sees His Mother. For an instant they just see each other, and He goes forward.

Mary would rather have had all His sufferings herself, could that have been, than not have known what they were by ceasing to be near Him. He, too, gained a refreshment, as from some soothing and grateful breath of air, to see her sad smile amid the sights and the noises which were about Him. She had known Him beautiful and glorious, with the freshness of Divine Innocence and peace upon His countenance; now she saw Him so changed and deformed that she could scarce have recognised Him, save for the piercing, thrilling, peace-inspiring look He gave her. Still, He was now carrying the load of the world's sins, and, all-holy though He was, He carried the image of them on His very face. He looked like some outcast or outlaw who had frightful guilt upon Him. He had been made sin for us, who knew no sin; not a feature, not a limb, but spoke of guilt, of a curse, of punishment, of agony.

Oh, what a meeting of Son and Mother! Yet there was a mutual comfort, for there was a mutual sympathy. Jesus and Mary — do they forget that Passion-tide through all eternity?

Pater, Ave, Gloria ...
V. Have mercy on us, O Lord.
R. Have mercy on us.

May the souls of the faithful, through the mercy of God, rest in peace. Amen.