It is not surprising that John Henry Newman, who developed a strong devotion to the mother of God once he became Roman Catholic, includes a short meditation on Good Friday titled Jesus, Son of Mary.
In several sermons and meditations (his Meditations and Devotions) he focuses on Mary’s role as the New Eve in the history of salvation. Here, instead, he comments on her role as a mother to point out the importance God gives to our human relations:
“WHEN our Lord came upon earth, He might have created a fresh body for Himself out of nothing—or He might have formed a body for Himself out of the earth, as He formed Adam. But He preferred to be born, as other men are born, of a human mother. Why did He do so? He did so to put honour on all those earthly relations and connections which are ours by nature; and to teach us that, though He has begun a new creation, He does not wish us to cast off the old creation, as far as it is not sinful.”
From this consideration of human beings as new creations he points out that “it is our duty to love and honour our parents, to be affectionate to our brothers, sisters, friends, husbands, wives, not only not less, but even more, than it was man’s duty before our Lord came on earth.”
As we become better disciples of Christ we must seek consistently the good of family members, friends and acquaintances.
Jesus not only asks us to love our family and neighbors thus, he gives us example of this love. Newman describes Jesus’ love for his mother:
“He loves her still in heaven with a special love. He refuses her nothing. We then on earth must feel a tender solicitude for all our relations, all our friends, all whom we know or have dealings with. And moreover, we must love not only those who love us, but those who hate us or injure us, that we may imitate Him, who not only was loving to His Mother, but even suffered Judas, the traitor, to kiss Him, and prayed for His murderers on the cross.”
Newman reminds us that Jesus committed his mother to the care of his best beloved disciple John. Likewise, he invites us to pray to Jesus for our family members, friends and acquaintances to come to the light of truth or to persevere in it if they are already enlightened, and to keep them in a state of grace and grant them perseverance. He also asks us to include in our prayers our teachers, superiors and subordinates as well as our enemies, both living and deceased.
St. Josemaría Escrivá, a saint who like Newman teaches us to have that trust in Mary’s intercession, wrote: “Have recourse to the Blessed Virgin every day with complete confidence. Your soul and your life will feel comforted at once” (Furrow, 768). Do we remember to pray thus to Jesus and to Mary? And do we believe that Jesus “refuses her nothing”?