Elizabeth Leon shares a prayerful meditation on one of the Stations of the Cross.
I spent the morning navigating the crowds, my heart burning within me. My faith is on fire, convinced that He is the answer to my every question, the yoke for my every burden.
The word came to my village that He was here. A spectacle, they said. Come and see, they cried.
I push and wrestle my way through the throng and my fear. I move with urgency and stumble, my hand scraping against the rough limestone. Finally, I spy a gap and press into the edge.
He is there, beaten and bruised on the path just a stone’s throw from me. A radiant young woman boldly reaches out to Jesus. I hold my breath and my knees buckle under the weight of my longing, tears streaming down my cheeks. We fall at the same time, my Jesus and I.
He is so close. I am overcome. My body doubles over and my shoulders shake with love and lament. I long to tell Him the whole truth, but there is no time—the soldiers shout and try to shove Jesus along. My heart cannot be contained, and I reach for His feet.
Time freezes and He turns to look deeply into my eyes, capturing my tears. I am pierced by His gaze. He reaches His hand to my hair, and my scalp burns from the warmth of His touch. A trickle of blood drips from His wrist to slide down my temple. His brown eyes overflow with compassion and hope, hope for the world and hope for me that He drags up this ragged, cobblestone hill.
The moment is fleeting, yet I am instantly known.
Known as a mother who lost her child moments, months, or years ago.
Known as a daughter who still longs for a father, her heart left unpursued.
Known as a wife scorned and discarded, mocked and betrayed, still believing that love will be redeemed.
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I am a weeping woman here for all women who weep. #CatholicMom
I am a weeping woman here for all women who weep. We seek you across generations on our way to Calvary. We are desperate for you, pressing through crowds and shimmying through alleys. Our empty arms ache. Our broken hearts burst. Our tears brim with intention, longing, and grief.
We come carrying. Sustaining. Upholding. We come guarding. Shielding. Nurturing. We come at the end of our rope, at the end of our hope.
As mothers, we carry the weight of our children for nine months in our bodies, then forever in our hearts. We carry families within us, communities within us, the hearts and hurts of each of our children within us, the ache for those children already gone within us. It is a paradox: we come empty yet so full.
The moment is broken as the soldiers push Jesus away, yet His Sacred Heart remains with mine. His precious blood dries on my cheek, and I press my face to the cobblestones in worship. I am frozen by how He has loved me—His hand on my hair, my tears on His feet.
My weeping endures, but His gaze and His touch bring joy in my mourning.
Copyright 2023 Elizabeth Leon
Images: Nassauer27, CC0, via Wikimedia Commons; Albertomos, Public domain, via Wikimedia Commons
About the Author
Elizabeth Leon is a Catholic writer and speaker from Ashburn, Virginia and the author of Let Yourself Be Loved: Big Lessons from a Little Life. She desires to inspire others to find freedom and healing through Christ. She and her husband are the parents of 10 children, 5 of hers, 4 of his, and their son, John Paul Raphael who died in 2018.