In honor of Mother’s Day, I turn our attention to the relationship of the Blessed Virgin Mary and John the Apostle. If you are a weekly reader of “Mondays with Mary”, you should know that I have written on this topic in the past to catechize you in the scriptural understanding of this passage from the Gospel of John as Jesus is dying on the cross. If you haven’t read this post, I suggest you read The Queenship of Mary: Advocate, Co-Redemptrix, and Mediatrix.
Today’s blog post centers on a poem written by Pope Saint John Paul II focusing on the mother and son relationship between Mary and John from his book, The Place Within: The Poetry of Pope John Paul II. Scripturally and supernaturally, we know that John represents all Christians and all of humanity after the Paschal Mystery of Jesus Christ, but on a human level, does John truly understand the task given to him by Our Lord on the cross? Would he have embraced this task or would he have been frightened? Did the thought cross his mind that the Blessed Mother would not remain with him?
Knowing what Tradition tells us of Saint John, I would claim that he embraces his role wholeheartedly and takes Mary as his own Mother. Why isn’t he afraid to do this? Out of all the apostles, it was the youngest of them all who stood with her at the cross as she watched her precious child endure the sufferings and sins of humanity. I think the Apostle knew his weaknesses, but even through these, he answered the first call from Jesus to be his follower, and then answers the second call to take Mary into his home as his mother.
Now that we have thought about this a bit, I turn you to the poetic words of Pope St. John Paul II and his thoughts on the relationship between Mary and John, mother and son –
Don’t lower the wave of heart,
it swells to your eyes, Mother;
don’t alter love,
but bring the wave to me
in your translucent hands.
He asked for this.
I am John the fisherman. There isn’t much
in me to love.
I feel I am still on that lake shore,
gravel crunching under my feet –
and, suddenly – Him.
Your will embrace His mystery in me no more,
yet quietly I spread round your thoughts like myrtle.
And calling you Mother – His wish –
I beseech you: may this word
never grow less for you.
True, it’s not easy to measure the meaning
of the words He breathed into us both
so that all earlier love in those words
should be concealed.
As we remember our mother’s this week, let us turn to the Blessed Virgin Mary asking for her to intercede for all mothers – both here on Earth, in Purgatory, and in Heaven. Let us also ask for the intercessory prayers of Saint John the Apostle – let us all be like John in two ways – first, let us love our mothers as he loved the Blessed Mother, and second, ask him to show us the beauty of the Divine Motherhood of the Blessed Virgin Mary and how her role as our Queen Mother who brings us closer to Jesus Christ each and every time we ask.