Stations of the Cross 04 with Joan Chittister, OSB


Jesus meets his mother

The fourth station of the cross teaches us the freedom that comes with real love. Jesus and Mary meet under the worst of circumstances. He has become an enemy of the state, an outcast from the synagogue. She is a widow left alone in a male world without the sustenance of her only son and no visible means of support. Both of them, in a way, are condemned to death. But she does not beg him to change his life for her sake and he does not tailor his life to please her.

At first, the reality of that jars the soul a bit. Shouldn’t he live his life to please her? Shouldn’t she demand from him his conversion to the ways of the world around him? Isn’t that what good sons, good parents do? The answer is only if we believe that our children belong more to us than to God, and our teachers, our parents, the people we love in life have more claim on our souls than God does. The answer is only if we think that love requires molding a person to ourselves rather than changing ourselves so the good of the other is realized. In this case mother and son love one another enough to respect the place of God in both their lives.

The question with which the fourth station of the cross confronts us is, Why do we love and how well? If we love another for our own sake, that love is doomed for both of us. They cannot ever satisfy our needs. If we love them enough to respect the place of God in their lives, love can never fail us.


Jesus, when I am tempted to put the expectations of

others above your will in my life,

give me enough love to trust that pleasing you

will ultimately be the best I can do for them.

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