A model disciple, a beloved disciple

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Quiet Storm by Fr. Nicanor F. Lalog II
The Seven Last Words, 03 April 2023
Photo by author, Chapel of the Holy Family, Sacred Heart Novitiate, Novaliches, Quezon City, 2014.

Standing by the cross of Jesus were his mother and his mother’s sister, Mary the wife of Clopas, and Mary of Magdala. When Jesus saw his mother and the disciple there whom he loved, he said to his mother, “Woman, behold, your son.” Then he said to the disciple, “Behold, your mother.” And from that hour the disciple took her into his home.

John 19:25-27

What a lovely scene we have at the foot of the Cross with our Lord Jesus Christ during His final moments, His Mother Mary, our “model disciple” and John, His “beloved disciple”. Both disciples standing for us all, Mary signifying the Mother Church, the Body of Christ, with us her children, each a beloved disciple of the Lord.

These words spoken by Jesus as He hung upon the Cross continue to be fulfilled in our own days in many concrete ways. These words are constantly repeated to both Mother and disciple, and each one of us today are called to relive them in our own life.

Every day we the disciples are called to take Mary as an individual and as the Church into our own home to carry out the Lord’s instructions by imitating her as a companion in the mission. Mary is actually the first disciple of the Lord because she was the first to welcome and receive Him at the Annunciation of His birth. Mary is also the first to truly believe in Jesus Christ when she “immediately” told Him how the newly-wed couple at Cana had ran out of wine. At the foot of the Cross, Mary is the first to remain in Christ, teaching us the most important aspect of discipleship which is intimacy in Jesus and with Jesus in prayer.

While preparing for this series, I wondered what was Mary really doing at the foot of the Cross of Jesus Christ? What were the thoughts running through her mind? What were the feelings and emotions forming, massing in her heart?

Notice the dignity of Mary in the face of extreme sorrow and suffering. She was standing firm, not seated, freaking out like crazy at the sight of her crucified Son. More than the tears and sorrow on her face as portrayed in arts, one can see this dignity of a woman and a disciples so absorbed in prayer, so united and close to Jesus our Lord!

How sad that many of us have forgotten this crucial aspect of discipleship Mary had shown us not only there at the Cross but from the very beginning until called to give birth to our Savior – a life centered on prayer which is more than reciting prayers but residing, dwelling, and communing in Jesus Christ.

Let us learn to be like Mary, to truly take her like the disciple whom Jesus loved by being intimate with Jesus and the Father in prayers. Keep in mind that her standing there at the foot of the Cross did not simply happen at the spur of the moment but a result, a fruit of her long periods of time spent in prayers, of communing with Jesus and in Jesus as the Mysteries of Light try to show us. Unlike most of us, we come only to Jesus at the Cross when we are in trials and difficulties but when everything is going on smoothly in life, we hardly prayed at all.

All her life, Mary lived in prayer. At the Pentecost, Mary was praying with the Lord’s disciples at the Upper Room in Jerusalem awaiting the coming of the Holy Spirit. Mary is the most beautiful reminder next to Jesus that discipleship is essentially prayer, that whatever we do is borne out of prayer.

Let us pray with the Blessed Mother Mary:

Our Lady of Sorrows,
pray for us your children,
especially your priests
who are supposed to be 
the Lord's beloved disciples
to immerse ourselves in prayer
above all
because before all else came,
there was Jesus Christ who came first
calling us, sending us on a mission
to proclaim His Good News 
of salvation to everyone.
“Mater Dolorosa” also known as “Blue Madonna” (1616) by Carlo Dolci. Photo from Wikimedia Commons.

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