Keeping Mary Company: A Good Friday Reflection

Dan Hix


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Keeping Mary Company (1)

He said to his mother, “Woman behold your son!” Then he said to the disciple, “Behold your mother!”

What was she doing there?
There, of all places
Why don’t you run, Mary, just run?
Join disciples’ mad dash to self-protection
Bolt…far as you can possibly go
No shame
Any reasonable soul
Anyone would understand
Run Mary, leave this harrowing place
No spot, no place in all creation
From which makes more sense to be gone.

What was she doing there?
Murder’s sorrowing, shocked witness
Fully present, standing
Rooted in groaning, blood-soaked ground
What was she doing there?
Hard pressed against horror
Bearing brutality’s assault
Torture beyond words
What was she doing there?
Bravely, scandalously, borne to life
Received, embraced
Nurtured, protected
Occupying her heart
Whole, vulnerable heart
Torn, ripped, dragged to death
Grieving silence of all eternity
What was she doing there?
Blind to safety
Foolishly, faithfully
Love’s risky, driven demand
Could she be anywhere else?

Dare we?
Dare we take our stand here?
For impulse is to flee
Get low, cut losses
Build walls, trust arsenals
Who could blame us?
Dare we pause, watch with Mary?
Dare we keep her dangerous company?
Have mercy, Lord
Guide our faltering steps.

Image Credit: Descent from the Cross. Illustration by JJ Tissot for his ‘The Life of our Saviour Jesus Christ’ London c1890.
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Dan Hix

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  • She did not join the male disciples’ mad dash because she was with the women disciples who stayed to the end and beyond.

  • Beautiful! And what was she doing there? Being a good mother to her child. This is what we do.

    I’ve been contemplating the mother of God this year as well, and I really appreciate this reflection. Thank you!

  • Mary is a crucial point of reference for women in ordained ministry. The Magnificant is a manifesto of liberation from patriarchy!

  • I wonder if at the foot of the cross Mary recalled the wedding at Cana. A joyous beginning and a tragic end to the ministry of her son. She was there for both, centrally placed in the narrative.

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