When Jesus saw 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. (John 19:26-27)
On the cross, Jesus sees his mother and calls her “Woman”.
This is the second and last time that he addresses his mother thus. The first time, he calls her by that title is during the wedding at Cana, where Mary anticipated the Hour of Jesus by telling her Son to provide wine for the wedding. The wine, of course, was that of the Messianic banquet, the kind of wine reserved for “the Last”.
“Woman” is the name the first Adam gave to Eve, “mother of all living”. Now the New Adam bestows the name upon His mother who becomes, by association with Her Son — the New Adam — the “New Eve”. And just as through Eve came death, so now, life comes through Mary.
Jesus gives his mother to the Beloved Disciple, or should we say, the Beloved Disciple now receives the Lord’s mother as his own? At the foot of the Cross, Mary becomes the mother of the Church. The Beloved Disciple made her “his own”, that is, “one at the top of his priorities”.
Pope John Paul II has contributed much to the growth of Marian devotion after Vatican II. The post-Vatican II confusions especially in the area of ecumenism and liturgy has brought about a situation wherein even Marian devotions were no longer fostered by the clergy. John Paul II changed all that by vigorously promoting the understanding of Mary’s role in salvation history. His addition of the Mysteries of Light in the meditation of the rosary now highlights Mary’s especial relationship to the Mission of the Church and the Eucharist. Finally, his encyclical “Redemptoris Mater” underscored Mary’s role in the Redemption of mankind. She is the Mother of the Redeemer by living up to her FIAT all the way to the Cross, to Pentecost and beyond.
O Sorrowful Mother,
You were given to us our Mother in the hour of your greatest grief
that you might be mindful of our frailty
and the evils that press upon us.
Without your aid, O Sorrowful Mother,
we cannot gain the victory
in this struggle against flesh and blood.
Therefore, we seek your help,
O Queen of Sorrows,
lest we fall prey to the wiles of the enemy.
We are orphans in need of the guiding hand of our Mother
amid the dangers that threaten our destruction.
You whose grief was boundless as the sea,
grant us by the memory of those sorrows
the strength to be victorious.