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Text for Stations of the Cross led by Pope Francis on Good Friday

Giulio Napolitano | Shutterstock

Anne-Marie Pelletier - published on 04/13/17

Public Domain


Jesus and his Mother

From the Gospel according to John

Standing near the cross of Jesus were his mother, and his mother’s sister, Mary the wife of Clopas, and Mary Magdalen. 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 (19:25-27).


Mary too has reached the end of the journey. She has come to the day that the elderly Simeon had foretold. When he took the baby in his trembling arms, his thanksgiving gave way to mysterious words that wove together tragedy and hope, sorrow and salvation.

“This child”, he said, “is destined for the falling and rising of many in Israel, and to be a sign that will be opposed, so that the inner thoughts of many will be revealed – and a sword will pierce your own soul too” (Lk 2:34-35).

The visit of the angel had already made Mary’s heart thrill to the incredible news that God had chosen her life to bring about the new things promised to Israel: “what no eye has seen nor ear heard” (1 Cor 2:9; cf. Is 64:3). She had consented to that divine plan that would soon involve her flesh and then accompanied her Son, the fruit of her womb, along unforeseen paths.

During the uneventful days of Nazareth, and then during Jesus’ public life, when room needed to be made for another family, the family of the disciples, the strangers whom Jesus had made his brothers, sisters, mothers, she had treasured all these things in her heart. She had entrusted them to the great patience of her faith.

Today is the day of fulfilment. The sword that pierced her Son’s side pierces her own heart. Mary too plunges into that bottomless trust whereby Jesus lives to the full his obedience to the Father. Standing there, she does not desert him. Stabat Mater. In the darkness, but with certainty, she knows that God keeps his promises. In the darkness, but with certainty, she knows that Jesus is both the promise and its fulfilment.


Mary, Mother of God and woman of our race, as a mother you give us birth in him to whom you gave birth: sustain us in faith at the hour of darkness and teach us to hope against all hope.

Preserve the entire Church in fidelity and watchfulness, in imitation of your own fidelity, humbly docile to God’s thoughts, which lead us where we would not go, that unite us, beyond anything we might imagine, to the work of salvation.

Pater noster

Hail, Holy Queen, Mother of mercy,
our life, our sweetness and our hope.

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