"Standing near the cross of Jesus were his mother, and his mother’s sister, Mary the wife of Clopas, and Mary Magdalene. When Jesus saw his mother and the disciple whom he loved standing beside her, he said to his mother, ‘Woman, here is your son.’ Then he said to the disciple, ‘Here is your mother.’ And from that hour the disciple took her into his own home.
After this, when Jesus knew that all was now finished, he said (in order to fulfil the scripture), ‘I am thirsty.’ A jar full of sour wine was standing there. So they put a sponge full of the wine on a branch of hyssop and held it to his mouth. When Jesus had received the wine, he said, ‘It is finished.’ Then he bowed his head and gave up his spirit."

John 19: 25-30 (NRSV)

Standing helpless by the cross, watching the long, slow agony of death by crucifixion must have plunged the sword yet deeper into Mary's heart. And yet, in the midst of the pain, she is given a token of love by her son - he entrusts her to his beloved disciple. Then at last, his anguish was over - though hers was to continue ... for a time...

Death comes to every creature on earth but, however expected and occasionally longed-for, often leaves those left behind feeling shock and despair. When the death is sudden or caused by an act of violence, these feelings are vastly increased and the world falls apart. It is a great soul that can release the loved one into the hands of God - and strive to understand and, ultimately, to forgive and re-find peace of mind.

Pray for those who die suddenly or through violence and those who mourn them

     Mary, Mother of the Church
     you suffered with your Son
     yet heard and treasured his last words of love for you.
     Pray for those whose deaths are also violent
     and for their loved one who may not hear the loving words they need to hear.


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