Weeks before the cross Jesus began to prepare his disciples for this death. The disciples adamantly proclaimed they would not let that happen and Jesus firmly stated you don’t know what you’re talking about. It’s uncomfortable to be with those that are dying or mourning. As Jesus approached his death most of his disciples deserted him because they were afraid.
I am struck, however, by the few sentences that appear subtly throughout the passion narratives that inform us that a group of women stayed with Jesus. Women with no voice and no power they chose to do what others couldn’t. They walked behind Jesus as he carried the cross to Golgotha. They watched as he died. They were there when he was buried. They stayed and they were present with Jesus throughout the whole uncomfortable and terrifying ordeal.
I am moved by the spirituality of the women at the cross. They remind me to stay. They encourage me to be present in the tensions of death and to be present with Christ on his journey into Jerusalem, his last meal, his agonizing prayer in the garden, his unfair trial, his suffering, and his death.
Because the women at the cross were present in death, they became the first witnesses to a new kind of life.
Photos taken at the Mater Dolorosa Passionist Retreat Center in Sierra Madre, CA.