What Have I…?

"Passion of the Christ"


I HAD thirty minutes before my meeting with the Poor Clares of Perpetual Adoration at the Shrine of the Blessed Sacrament in Hanceville, Alabama. These are the nuns founded by Mother Angelica (EWTN) who lives with them there at the Shrine.

After spending time in prayer before Jesus in the Blessed Sacrament, I wandered outside to get some evening air. I came across a life-size crucifix which was very graphic, portraying the wounds of Christ as they would have been. I knelt before the cross… and suddenly felt myself drawn into a deep place of sorrow.

After some time and tears, I said, "Lord… why haven’t you abandoned me, a sinner?" And I immediately heard in my heart, "Because you have not abandoned me.

I stood and embraced the bloodied feet before me, and after some time cried out, "Lord, I promise never to commit mortal sin, or any sin against you." But as soon as I said those words, I began to intensely feel my interior poverty—utter poverty.

I stood there holding the feet of Truth, while standing in the truth.

"Oh my Jesus. With what do I have to keep my promises? With what do I have to keep them? I have nothing. My hands are empty!" I cannot explain the sorrow I felt in my heart. Every ounce of my soul desired to be faithful to Jesus, and yet, I felt completely incapable of giving Him anything.

"Lord… with what do I keep my promise!?"

And then Jesus replied, "I will give you my Mother."

His words were like a clap of thunder… and weeping turned into sobs. I understood more clearly the role of the Mother of Jesus. She is given to us so that we may be formed in her spiritual womb. We are raised and nurtured by her faithful hands, molded and formed in her Immaculate Heart, guided and fed by her Wisdom and virtue, protected and shielded in her mantle and prayers. She who is full of grace is given to us who have fallen from grace.

The Apostle John flashed through my mind, and Jesus giving Mary to him beneath the Cross. "Here is your mother…", Christ said. "Here is the one who will mother you."

I thought again about the Lord’s earlier words, "Because you have not abandoned me."

"But Lord, I have abandoned you in my sinfulness." 

"Yes, like John, who left the garden like all the others…  But then he came back to Me, beneath my Cross. HE CAME BACK."

I understood… Jesus overlooks our sins when we come back to Him, as though we’d never left Him.

Mercy was flowing down upon me now in a bloodless stream.  This Christ, whom I had scourged and pierced through with my sins, was consoling me. And He was giving me His very Mother.

"Yes, Lord. I welcome her into my home; I take her into my heart again… now, and for all eternity."

I looked at my watch. It was time to meet the nuns.

"Behold, your mother!" And from that hour the disciple took her to his own home. (John 19:27)

…if we are faithless, he remains faithful—for he cannot deny himself. (2 Tim 1:13)

Fear not, for I have redeemed you; I have called you by name, you are mine… you are precious in my eyes, and honored, and I love you… (Isaiah 43:1, 4)

the Divine Redeemer wishes to penetrate the soul of every sufferer through the heart of his holy Mother, the first and the most exalted of all the redeemed. As though by a continuation of that motherhood which by the power of the Holy Spirit had given him life, the dying Christ conferred upon the ever Virgin Mary a new kind of motherhood—spiritual and universal—towards all human beings, so that every individual, during the pilgrimage of faith, might remain, together with her, closely united to him unto the Cross, and so that every form of suffering, given fresh life by the power of this Cross, should become no longer the weakness of man but the power of God. Salvifici Doloros, 26; Apostolic Letter of JPII, February 11th, 1984

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