April 5, 2001
volume 12, no. 95


  On Good Friday in 2000, the Holy Father led the Via Crucis meditations with his own words while leading the faithful on the traditional Papal Way of the Cross. His deep spirituality, renewed by a spontaneous visit to Mount Calvary, within the Basilica of the Holy Sepulchre during his "Jubilee Journey" to the Holy Land last year is an inspiration we want to share with our readers.

A Plenary Indulgence is attached to this devotion according to article 194 of the Raccolta.

      Stabat Mater:

        At the Cross her station keeping
        stood the mournful Mother weeping,
        close to Jesus to the last.

4. Jesus meets His Blessed Mother.

    We adore you, O Lord, and we praise You. Because by Your holy cross, You have redeemed the world.
    (genuflect or make the sign of the cross)

        MEDITATION: Lord Jesus, Your mother Mary's grief was surpassed by her love for you. So often You come to me in others and their love gives me new life. Help me to see how often You love me through the people in my life.


      "Do not be afraid, Mary, for you have found favor 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" (Luke 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" (Luke 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" (Lamentations 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 fulfill is 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, honor and glory for ever and ever.

    R. Amen.

    Our Father, Hail Mary, Glory Be
Tomorrow: Station Five: Simon of Cyrene helps Jesus to carry His Cross.

For the shorter meditative group of lessons on the full Stations of the Cross, see WAY OF THE CROSS

For previous meditative Stations composed by the Holy Father, see:
1. Jesus is condemned to death
2. Jesus willingly takes up His Cross
3. Jesus falls the First Time

April 5, 2001
volume 12, no. 95
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