Fourth Station: Jesus meets his mother

We adore you, O Christ, and we praise you.  Because by your holy cross you have redeemed the world.

“Though your message was unspoken, still the truth in silence lies …..” this is one of my favourite lines from Dana’s hymn “Our Lady of Knock”.  It brings us back to that gable wall on an August evening in 1879 and to a people gathered in wonder and fear.  A vision before them and much pain and confusion behind and all around them in the wake of famine days and forced, uncertain, emigration.  No words exchanged.  No words spoken by Mary to these people you’d imagine were in need of a word.  She didn’t tell them that they were disappointing her son.  She didn’t call them to one kind of devotion or another.  She didn’t demand response in promises of any kind.  Knock and its story, remind us though that she was “THERE” – for the people present that evening she was “HERE”.

I often think of that when looking at this fourth station.  There’s no mention of any dialogue.  You can almost imagine their eyes meeting across a largely hostile and curious crowd.  Once those eyes met and locked in on each other, there was reassurance.  “You are still my son” …..  “it matters not what they think of you or what they think you’ve done or anything else …. you are still my son”.  Presence and reassurance – maybe that’s as good as it gets.

What did she receive in return from his gaze?  A loving acknowledgement that out of all that’s going on around here, out of all this thunderous crowd, “I see you.  I need you.  I love you”.  The fourth commandment comes to mind “Honour your father and your mother”.  No accident that it comes right after the call to keep Holy the Sabbath Day.  This relationship between parent and child must also remain holy and be forever reverenced.

This Station then speaks to all that is good in that bond between parent and child, in this case, mother and son and calls us to be there/here for each other in moments of crisis and uncertainty.  It also calls us to prayer for families that have been broken or compromised in any way due to a breakdown in communication and relationship.

Oh, that today we would listen to his voice, let us harden not our hearts.