The Life of Mary: Calvary©

The charts below are direct quotes from Post-Vatican II Magisterial Documents concerning the theme, Mary's Life, Calvary. These teachings of the Catholic Church may prove useful to include in talks, in homilies or for research. For the full title and document data, click on the abbreviation code (for example, BYM leads you to the document, Behold Your Mother). This will also lead you to the complete document on this website or assist you in locating it elsewhere.

For an index of the documents used in the study see: List of Magisterial Documents
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Documents VI. The Life of Mary / 2k. Sacred Scripture:
New Testament Elements Life of Christ: Calvary
Lumen Gentium, 1964
  • faithfully persevered in her union with her Son unto the cross, where she stood, in keeping with the divine plan, enduring with her only begotten Son the intensity of his suffering 58
  • "Woman, behold your son." (Jn 19:26-27) 58
  • shared her Son's sufferings as he died on the cross 61
  • consent...sustained without wavering beneath the cross 62
Mense Maio, 1965
  • knows...the sufferings of Calvary 11
Signum Magnum, 1967
Behold Your Mother (USA), 1973
  • [Cana - Calvary parallel 34-37] What began at Cana achieved its consummation on Calvary. 34
  • The meaning of Mary at Cana is revealed fully when His Mother stands "near the cross of Jesus," and hears Him say: "Woman, there is your Son" (Jn 19:26). 37
  • The words "Woman, there is your son; there is your mother" contain the solemn announcement that the messianic promise has come true. Mary on Calvary symbolizes the "woman" who is mother Church, the new Israel, the new People of God, the mother of all men, Jew and Gentile. 38 [see also 115]
  • The Middle Ages pondered Mary's compassion on Calvary, leading to the familiar representations of the Pieta. 106
  • Mary was "Mother of Sorrows" sharing her Son's sufferings even to Calvary. 134
Marialis Cultus, 1974
  • [Mary shares Christ's suffering: liturgy of Sept. 15] 11
Gaudete in Domino, 1975
  • She stands, the mother of sorrows, at the foot of the cross, associated in an eminent way with the sacrifice of the innocent Servant. But she is also open in an unlimited degree to the joy of the resurrection. #
Dives in Misericordia, 1980
  • This sacrifice is intimately linked with the cross of her son, at the foot of which she was to stand on Calvary ... No one has experienced, to the same degree as the Mother of the crucified One, the mystery of the cross, the overwhelming encounter of divine transcendent justice with love: that "kiss" given by mercy to justice (cf. Ps 85 [84] :11) 9
  • No one has received into his heart, as much as Mary did, that mystery, that truly divine dimension of the redemption effected on Calvary by means of the death of the Son, together with the sacrifice of her maternal heart, together with her definitive "fiat" 9
Redemptoris Mater, 1987
  • [text understood as a whole new dimension of cooperation and spiritual motherhood] "Standing by the cross of Jesus were his mother, and his mother's sister, Mary the wife of Clopas, and Mary Magdalene. When Jesus saw his mother, and the disciple whom he loved standing near, 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 to his own home." (Jn. 19:25-27). 23
  • And so this "new motherhood of Mary," generated by faith, is the fruit of the "new" love which came to definitive maturity in her at the foot of the Cross, through her sharing in the redemptive love of her Son. 23 [See also 26, 28]
Letter to Priests for Holy Thursday, 1988
  • Hail, true Body, born of the Virgin Mary: you truly suffered and were immolated on the cross for man. 1
  • There is no indication that the Mother of Christ was present in the Upper Room at the Last Supper. But she was present on Calvary, at the foot of the cross, where as the Second Vatican Council teaches, "she stood, in accordance with the divine plan (cf. Jn 19:25), suffering grievously with her only-begotten Son, uniting herself with a maternal heart to his sacrifice, and lovingly consenting to the immolation of this victim which she herself had brought forth." (LG 58) 1
  • When on the cross Mary's Son revealed himself fully as the "sign of contradiction," it was then that this immolation and mortal agony also reached her maternal heart. Behold the agony of the heart of the Mother who suffered together with him, "consenting to the immolation of this victim which she herself had brought forth." Here we reach the high point of Mary's presence in the mystery of Christ and of the Church on earth. 2
  • And in particular, when we celebrate the Eucharist and stand each day on Golgotha, we need to have near us the one who through heroic faith carried to its zenith her union with her Son, precisely then on Golgotha. 2
  • See how during his agony on the cross he spoke the words which have for us the meaning of a testament: "When Jesus saw his mother, and the disciple whom he loved standing near, 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 to his own home." (Jn 19:26-27) 3
  • At the moment of death, Jesus gives his own Mother to this disciple. John "took her to his own home." He took her as the first witness to the mystery of the Incarnation. And he, as an evangelist, expressed in the most profound yet simple way the truth about the Word who "became flesh and dwelt among us" (Jn 1:14), the truth about the Incarnation and the truth about Emmanuel. 3
  • And so, by taking "to his own home" the Mother who stood beneath her Son's cross, he also made his own all that was within her on Golgotha: the fact that she "suffered grievously with her only-begotten Son, uniting herself with a maternal heart in his sacrifice, and lovingly consenting to the immolation of this victim that she herself had brought forth." All this - the superhuman experience of the sacrifice of our redemption, inscribed in the heart of Christ the Redeemer's own Mother - was entrusted to the man who in the Upper Room received the power to make this sacrifice present through the priestly ministry of the Eucharist. 3
  • If John at the foot of the cross somehow represents every man and woman for whom the motherhood of the Mother of God is spiritually extended, how much more does this concern each of us, who are sacramentally called to the priestly ministry of the Eucharist in the Church! 3
  • At the foot of the cross on Golgotha, "the disciple took to his own home" Mary, whom Christ had pointed out to him with the words, "Behold, your mother." The Council's teaching demonstrates how much the whole Church has taken Mary into "the Church's own home," how profoundly the mystery of this Virgin Mother belongs to the mystery of the Church, to the Church's intimate reality. 3
  • Each of us, then, has to "take her to our own home" like the Apostle John on Golgotha, that is to say, each of us should allow Mary to dwell "within the home" of our sacramental priesthood, as mother and mediatrix of that "great mystery" (cf. Eph 5:32) which we all wish to serve with our lives. 4
  • Speaking from the cross on Golgotha, Christ said to the disciple: "Behold, your mother." And the disciple "took her to his own home" as Mother. Let us also take Mary as Mother into the interior "home" of our priesthood. 6
  • We always feel unworthy of Christ's friendship. But it is a good thing that we should have a holy fear of not remaining faithful to it. The Mother of Christ knows all this. She herself has understood most completely the meaning of the words spoken to her during his agony on the cross: "Woman, behold, your son....Behold, your mother." They referred to her and to the disciple-one of those to whom Christ said in the Upper Room: "You are my friends" (Jn 15:14); they referred to John and to all those who, through the mystery of the Last Supper, share in the same "friendship." 6
  • Through this sacrifice we too, as its sacramental dispensers, together with all those whom we serve through its celebration, continually touch the decisive moment of that spiritual combat which, according to the Books of Genesis and Revelation, is linked with the "woman." In this battle she is entirely united with the Redeemer. And therefore our priestly ministry too unites us with her: with her who is the Mother of the Redeemer and the "model" of the Church. In this way all remain united with her in this spiritual battle which takes place throughout the course of human history. 7
  • The Council teaches that Mary advanced in her pilgrimage of faith through her perfect union with her Son unto the cross and goes before, presenting herself in an eminent and singular way to the whole People of God, which follows the same path, in the footsteps of Christ in the Holy Spirit. 7
The VM in Intellectual and Spiritual Formation, 1988
  • The deed by which Christ entrusted the disciple to the Mother and the Mother to the disciple (cf. Jn 19:25-27) has established the very closest relationship between Mary and the Church. 17
To All Consecrated Persons, Marian Year, 1988
  • Dear brothers and sisters: let us constantly return, with our vocation, with our consecration, to the depths of the Paschal Mystery. Let us present ourselves at Christ's Cross next to his Mother. Let us learn our vocation from her. Did not Christ himself say: "Whoever does the will of my Father in heaven is my brother, and sister, and mother" (Mt 12:50)? 19
Mulieris Dignitatem, 1988
  • Women were in the forefront at the foot of the Cross, at the decisive moment in Jesus of Nazareth's whole messianic mission. ... Not only the Mother of Christ and ... (Jn 19:25) were present, but "there were also many women there ... (Mt 27:55) 15
  • ["pangs of childbirth"] at the same time these words indicate the link that exists between the woman's motherhood and the Paschal Mystery. For this mystery also includes the Mother's sorrow at the foot of the Cross - the Mother who through faith shares in the amazing mystery of her son's "self-emptying"... 19
  • As we contemplate this Mother, whose heart "a sword has pierced" (cf. Lk 2:35), our thoughts go to all the suffering women in the world... With these sufferings too we must place ourselves at the foot of the Cross. 19
Redemptoris Custos, St. Joseph, 1989
  • [Mary's pilgrimage of faith] is a path along which especially at the time of Calvary and Pentecost Mary will precede in a perfect way. [LG 63] 5
  • The path that was Joseph's, his pilgrimage of faith ended first, that is to say, before Mary stood at the foot of the cross on Golgotha and before the time after Christ returned to the Father, when she was present in the upper room on Pentecost. 6
Evangelium Vitae, 1995
  • "Standing by the cross of Jesus" (Jn 19:25), Mary shares in the gift which the Son makes of himself: she offers Jesus, gives him over, and begets him to the end for our sake. 103
  • The "yes" spoken on the day of the Annunciation reaches full maturity on the day of the Cross, when the time comes for Mary to receive and beget as her children all those who becomes disciples, pouring out upon them the saving love of her Son: "When Jesus saw his mother, and the disciple whom he loved standing near, he said to his mother, 'Woman, behold, your son!'" (Jn 19:26) 103
Catechism of the Catholic Church, 1994
Fidei Depositum, 1992
964 Mary's role in the Church is inseparable from her union with Christ and flows directly from it. "This union of the mother with the Son in the work of salvation is made manifest from the time of Christ's virginal conception up to his death"; (LG 57) it is made manifest above all at the hour of his Passion:
Thus the Blessed Virgin advanced in her pilgrimage of faith, and faithfully persevered in her union with her Son unto the cross. There she stood, in keeping with the divine plan, enduring with her only begotten Son the intensity of his suffering, joining herself with his sacrifice in her mother's heart, and lovingly consenting to the immolation of this victim, born of her: to be given, by the same Christ Jesus dying on the cross, as a mother to his disciple, with these words: "Woman, behold your son." (LG 58; cf. Jn 19:26-27) [See also 165 & 2605]
Vita Consecrata, 1996
  • "Behold your mother!" (Jn 19:27): Jesus' words to the disciple "whom he loved" (Jn 19:26) are particularly significant for the lives of consecrated persons [See more in spiritual motherhood] 28
Novo Millennio Ineunte, 2001
  • Now I point to Mary once again as the radiant dawn and sure guide for our steps. Once more, echoing the words of Jesus himself and giving voice to the filial affection of the whole Church, I say to her: "Woman, behold your children." (cf. Jn 19:26) 58
Rosarium Virginis Mariae, 2002
  • Thereafter Mary's gaze, ever filled with adoration and wonder, would never leave him. ... At other times it would be a look of sorrow, especially beneath the Cross, where her vision would still be that of a mother giving birth, for Mary not only shared the passion and death of her Son, she also received the new son given to her in the beloved disciple (cf. Jn 19:26-27). 10
  • The sorrowful mysteries help the believer to relive the death of Jesus, to stand at the foot of the Cross beside Mary, to enter with her into the depths of God's love for man and to experience all its life-giving power. 22
  • ... "it is only in the mystery of the Word made flesh that the mystery of man is seen in its true light." (GS 22) The Rosary helps to open up the way to this light. ...and following him on the way to Calvary, they learn the meaning of salvific suffering. 25
Ecclesia de Eucharistia, 2003
  • Mary, throughout her life at Christ's side and not only on Calvary, made her own the sacrificial dimension of the Eucharist. When she brought the child Jesus to the Temple in Jerusalem "to present him to the Lord" (Lk 2:22), she heard the aged Simeon announce that the child would be a "sign of contradiction" and that a sword would also pierce her own heart (cf. Lk 2:34-35). 56
  • The tragedy of her Son's crucifixion was thus foretold, and in some sense Mary's Stabat Mater at the foot of the Cross was foreshadowed. In her daily preparation for Calvary, Mary experienced a kind of "anticipated Eucharist"– one might say a "spiritual communion" – of desire and of oblation, which would culminate in her union with her Son in his passion, and then find expression after Easter by her partaking in the Eucharist which the Apostles celebrated as the memorial of that passion. 56
  • "Do this in remembrance of me." (Lk 22:19) In the "memorial" of Calvary all that Christ accomplished by his passion and his death is present. Consequently all that Christ did with regard to his Mother for our sake is also present. To her he gave the beloved disciple and, in him, each of us: "Behold, your Son!" To each of us he also says: "Behold your mother!" (cf. Jn 19: 26-27) 57
  • Experiencing the memorial of Christ's death in the Eucharist also means continually receiving this gift. It means accepting like John the one who is given to us anew as our Mother. It also means taking on a commitment to be conformed to Christ, putting ourselves at the school of his Mother and allowing her to accompany us. 57


© This material has been compiled by M. Jean Frisk.
Copyright is reserved for The Marian Library/International Marian Research Institute.

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