Saturday is traditionally held as a day of devotion to the Blessed Virgin Mary, and today on Holy Saturday, this day of most sacred silence and meditation, we can turn our eyes to Mary as we continue to let the Paschal Mystery penetrate us.
Last night in John’s Gospel we heard Jesus’ poignant words from the Cross: “When Jesus say his mother and the disciple there whom he loved, he said to his mother, ‘Woman, behold your son.’ Then he said to the disciple, ‘Behold, your mother.’ And from that hour the disciple took her into his home.”
It strikes me that the Gospel does not say, “Jesus said to John, ‘behold your mother'” but rather “Then he said to the disciple…”. The reason that Jesus can give me His mother is because I am willing to remain there under the cross as His beloved disciple. The evangelist does not specify the disciple’s name because this is the space for you and for me, the space to receive a Mother ourselves. Just think what consolation it must have been for Jesus to look down in his greatest agony – not so much the physical pain but even more so the terrible pain of rejection and abandonment — to look down in that anguish and see His very mother, the mother who had born and nursed and cared for him, who prayed with him, who nurtured and raised him, encouraged him, and helped Jesus become a man. In His hour of greatest weakness, He sees His mother and knows her love; and then does the unthinkable: He gives His mother to you and to me.
Mary’s steadfastness under the cross proves to us that there is no pain she is not willing to embrace; that there are no tears she is unwilling to wipe away; no anger she is afraid of; no sin she is scandalized by. No, she is there, and she stays by our side. Stabat Mater. Let us spend this day with Mary, waiting and watching with her, grateful for her faithful presence, in the midst of whatever Cross we might be carrying today, in whatever tomb we might be enclosed right now.
But Zion said, “The Lord has forsaken me; my Lord has forgotten me.” Can a mother forget her infant, be without tenderness for the child of her womb? Even should she forget, I will never forget you.
– Isaiah 49:14-15
Holy Saturday reflections written by Sr. Ruth