The Sixth Sorrowful Mystery: Mary Receives the Dead Body of Jesus in Her Arms (Jn 19:38-40)
The friends of Jesus, Joseph and Nicodemus, took down his body from the cross and placed it in the outstretched arms of the Blessed Virgin. Then Mary washed it with deep respect and love because she was his mother. She knew better than anyone else that he was God incarnate who’d taken a human body to become the Savior of all people. Mary could see the terrifying wounds from the flogging Jesus had received while at Pilate’s. His flesh had been shredded and large strips had been torn from his back. His entire body had been so lacerated that gaping wounds crisscrossed him from head to toe. Mary found that the wounds from the nails were less severe than those caused by the flogging and by carrying the cross. She was horrified at the thought that her son had managed to carry the heavy, splintered cross all the way to Calvary. She saw the circle of blood the crown of thorns had made on his forehead and, to her horror, realized that many of the barbed thorns had dug so deeply into his skull they had penetrated his brain. Looking at her broken boy, the Holy Mother knew that his agonizing death was far worse than the torture reserved for the wickedest of criminals. As she cleaned his damaged body she envisioned him during each stage of his short life, remembering her first look at his beautiful newborn face as they lay in the manger, and every day in between, until this heartrending moment as she gently bathed his lifeless body. Her anguish was relentless as she prepared her son and Lord for burial, but she remained brave and strong, becoming the true Queen of Martyrs. As she washed her son she prayed that everybody would know the riches of paradise and enter the gates of heaven. She prayed for every soul in the world to embrace God’s love, so her son’s torturous death would benefit all humankind and not have been in vain. Mary prayed for the world; she prayed for all of us.
Prayer: We thank you, Beloved Mother, for your courage as you stood beneath your dying child to comfort him on the cross. As our Savior drew his last breath, you became a wonderful mother to all of us; you became the Blessed Mother of the world. We know that you love us more than our own earthly parents do. We implore you to be our advocate before the throne of mercy and grace so that we can truly become your children. We thank you for Jesus, our Savior and Redeemer, and we thank Jesus for giving you to us. Please pray for us, Mother.