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With Mary Beneath the Cross of Her Son

A 60 minute adoration guide, beginning with four minutes of silent reflection. The reading follows:

To put yourself in the story, it may help to read this imaginative account based on the accounts in the gospels of Luke and John:

The arms of the young disciple John were gently, almost reverently, wrapped around Mary’s shoulders, giving her comfort and strength.

“Jesus is looking at you, Mary. He wants to see your face,” John whispered in her ear.

“Yes,” Mary whispered.

Mary remembered the words she had spoken to the angel Gabriel when he had announced the shocking news: Behold I am the handmaid of the Lord (Lk 1:38, NABRE). She raised her eyes slowly from his pierced feet to his crowned head. Mary took in the bruised and battered body of her Son; the One the angel Gabriel had told her would sit on the Throne of David (see Lk 1:31).

As Mary’s eyes met Jesus’ gaze, the words he had spoken to her as a child in the temple came to her: “Did you not know that I must be in my Father’s house?” (Lk 2:49). She had pondered those words her whole life since. She continued to think of those earlier, happier years. From his birth in Bethlehem to those first years in Egypt. In Nazareth, watching him grow, play, and learn to pray to his Father at her knee. She remembered Joseph who was so kind and strong. The wedding feast at Cana when he had changed water into wine. Yes. Those had been days of miracles and laughter. Mary, like any parent, had great dreams for her Son. Now, standing at the foot of the cross, Mary reflected on how much had happened to her and to her Son in the thirty-three years of his life.

Mary recalled the words of Jesus to the crowds: “Whoever does the will of God is my brother and sister and mother” (Mk 3:35).

His words rang out in her heart.

“Yes,” she said with more strength. The same ‘Yes’ that ran like a golden thread through her entire life.

Suddenly she heard a noise. The clouds were threatening rain and the chaos of the crowd was increasing. But Mary had heard her Son. Jesus struggled to call her from the cross, “Woman.” It was so soft, in that gentle, respectful tone of voice he reserved for her alone. “Woman.”

“Yes,” Mary responded, her face straining up toward his.

“Here is your son,” Jesus said as he turned his eyes to John. Looking at John, Jesus gasped, “Here is your mother.”

Aware of the great goodbye now imminent, Mary looked slowly from Jesus to John and then to the crucified thieves beside him. Then she turned to the jeering crowd for the first time.

“Yes,” Mary whispered with tears in her eyes but a new strength in her heart. “Behold I am the handmaid of the Lord” (Lk 1:38, NABRE).

Excerpted from Reclaim Regret: How God Heals Life’s Disappointments by Sr Kathryn Hermes.

Published by Sr. Kathryn J Hermes, FSP

The image that has drawn me in my ministry is Touching the Sunrise. I believe each person, no matter where they are and what they have lived, is a temple of the Trinity and can, indeed, taste the presence of God within. You can find resources for healing and prayer and follow me at

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