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    The Stations of the Cross in Jerusalem - Reflection
    The 4th Station: HERE Jesus meets his mother

    Jesus starts again his journey towards the gallows. The mother was informed about what was happening. She could not stand the vociferous voices near the Antonia. But she had tried in all ways to see her son. How could anyone imagine otherwise? She was a mother who loved her son. She was a mother who knew her son and stood by him all along.

    Even at this terrible time she mustered the strength to be on the "Way of the Cross". Standing at the wayside she reviewed all the events of her life with her son. How could she in those moments not remember the events of their inseparable lives?

    Her son was now standing there before her. His feet still trembling under the weight of the cross-beam, his face disfigured and his body still bleeding from the lashes. He was there and she could still see in him the one and only begotten son of hers.

    At her side stood also some other women. They too were strong enough to leave their hiding and come out in the open to meet the Lord on his "Way of the Cross". They, huddled together, wanted to scream. There were tears in their eyes and their hearts were in pain. They could not believe what they were seeing.

    His mother tries to get closer in order to say a word to her son. Jesus looks up at her. He too sees her and tries to go to her comfort. He had known her comforting love for many years. He had known her tender caring and her loving heart. Their gazes met. Jesus stopped, but in that instant was pushed away by the rushing soldiers. They had to keep moving. They had no time to lose in useless soft talk.

    Jesus did not say a word but looked straight in the eyes of his mother. Without speaking a word they could communicate through their eyes. Their eyes arrived at the heart and Jesus was again repeating to her the words he had said when he was still twelve: "Didn't you know I had to be in my Father's house?" (Lk 2,49).

    She answered him by repeating in her heart the words of Simon in the temple on presentation day "And a sword will pierce your own soul too." (Lk 2,35). They could have gone on forever but ....

    A Prayer

    Dear Jesus, while you were staring in your mother's eyes I could feel the tenderness of your heart, the beauty of your words, the infinite love that made you accept the burden of the cross. Dear Lord, you must have suffered to see the tears on your mother's cheeks and hear her sobbing voice. This was yet another weight on your cross. Dear Jesus, how I wish that I could learn to love without speaking, to care without noise, to be for the other without making the other feel disturbed by my presence! In front of your suffering mother, dear Jesus, I ask you to make me more human in my feelings and more open to the hearts of the others.

    The Site

    The chapel of the Fourth Chapel along the Tyropeon Valley

    Next to the chapel of the Cyrenian, a door leads to the building of the Armenian Catholics who own the 3rd and 4th Stations. The construction of their church at the back of the inner court revealed a building going back to the 15th century.
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    Another view of the 4th Station

    The site of the chapel coincides with that of the former chapel known as "Chapel of the Fainting" mentioned by ancient pilgrims. The event of Jesus' meeting with his mother is not narrated in the Gospels but comes out of the pious tradition. The oratory is marked by a sculpture above the doorway by the Polish artist T. Zielinski.
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    At the Fourth Station during the Friday "Way of the Cross"

    Under this medieval construction the archaeologists brought to light a mosaic dating to the 5th-6th century which included a "lonely" pair of sandals. Some pilgrims have concluded that the sandals in the mosaic marked the spot from where the Blessed Virgin had witnessed the carrying of the cross. But the identification of this spot as the meeting place of Jesus and Mary only goes back to the Middle Ages.
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    Reflections and Prayers by John Abela ofm
    Descriptive text by John Abela, ofm and Michael Olteanu based on research by Albert Storm (SBF - Jerusalem)
    Hi-Res pictures prepared by Michael Olteanu
    Display pictures prepared by John Abela ofm

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     Created / Updated Tuesday, March 31, 1998 at 02:30:33
     by John Abela ofm for the Maltese Province and the Custody of the Holy Land
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