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Image: William Dyce – “St John Leading Home his Adopted Mother”, 1842–60 (Tate)


“And from that hour, the disciple took Her into his home”
(John 19:27)


The image of the Blessed Virgin Mary leaving Golgotha in the company of St John and carrying the Crown of Thorns from the Body of Her dead Son, is one of abject misery and sorrow. At that moment, all seems lost – Jesus is dead, having been nailed to the Cross. Everything He said and taught seems – in that moment – to have die along with Him.

The flame of faith in Him continues to burn in one single place – within the Sorrowful and Immaculate Heart of Mary. She alone continues to believe and to have complete faith in Her Son. She has been mystically united to Him throughout His Passion, and stood weeping at the foot of His Cross, watching Him die – but not before He had given Her over into the care of this Beloved Disciple, John.

John represents all of us, placed in the care of the Blessed Virgin by Our Lord. But John now has been entrusted with a very particular mission, the same one given years before to the great Saint Joseph – to take care of the Mother of the Lord and to protect Her.

When I read that passage from the Gospel of St John, I cannot help but wonder what conversations took place that first night, after Golgotha, and the many nights that followed. I wonder what blessings the Mother of the Lord brought to Saint John and his house; and I wonder what stories She told him of the childhood of Her Son, of the things He had said and done in the years before His public ministry.

And I consider the enormous honour of the task given to St John by the Lord – this alone makes him a favourite saint of mine, that he was so close to the Blessed Virgin and charged with Her safekeeping.

I am sure that in the same way he opened his home to Mary, She opened Her Heart to him, and John has a very special place there, as he did in the Heart of Jesus.

Like St John, may all of us open our homes and our hearts to the Mother of God, making within us a special place where She is unhesitatingly welcomed, warmly and affectionately, one where we can keep company with Her, listen to Her and learn from Her.

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