St. John and the Mourning Women


The Pious Women Lament Over Jesus

Source: THE SCHOOL OF JESUS CRUCIFIED, Fr. Ignatius of the Side of Jesus,
TAN BOOKS, with Nihil Obstat and Imprimatur, 1895



OUR Redeemer is followed by a vast multitude of people, and by some women who weep with compassion over His sufferings. Our blessed Lord, turning to them, addresses them in words
full of instruction and tender love.

1. The pious affection displayed by these women.

Crowds of people accompany Jesus, some to insult Him in His sufferings, and some to feast their eyes upon the spectacle of His Crucifixion. Among so many enemies of our Saviour, there are yet a few faithful and compassionate souls who follow Him, and by their tears and sighs give public testimony of the respectful love they bear their suffering Lord. Undaunted by the universal hatred displayed against Jesus by the Jews, undismayed by the rage and malice with which all maltreat the innocent Saviour of the world, they fearlessly stand forward in His favor, and publicly lament over the Just Man, as over a truly worthy object of compassion. Are you one of the few men of faith and piety not afraid of appearing Christians, even where the law of God is disobeyed and trampled under foot? Or do you, on the contrary, yield to cowardly fears, and join the enemies of your Saviour in deriding piety, persecuting innocence and outraging God? On the day of judgment Christ will not acknowledge you if you are now ashamed to acknowledge Him.

   The pious women, triumphing over human respect, and overcoming every difficulty, hasten along the road of Calvary to follow Jesus, and render Him the last offices of love and friendship. On seeing Him the victim of such barbarous usage, and covered with wounds and blood, they weep with compassion, and rejoice to offer Jesus the tribute of their tears in return for the Blood which He is shedding so prodigally for the salvation of their souls. Unite in spirit with these pious women, and let your heart be touched at the sight of Jesus covered with wounds, led like a criminal to punishment, and about to sacrifice His life on the Cross. Oh, how sweet and consoling it is to weep over the sufferings of our dear Saviour. Taste, and you will see.

2. The favor with which Jesus accepts the tribute of their tears.

   Jesus seeing the compassion felt for Him by these women, and the tears shed by them over His sufferings, is pleased to accept and reward the expression of their love. Learn, hence, how acceptable is the offering of our compassion and affection to our suffering Lord, and how sensibly His Divine Heart is grieved by the ingratitude and hard-heartedness of those who shed not a single tear over His Crucifixion and Death.

   Jesus, although overwhelmed, soul and body, with the most excruciating sufferings, although fainting and sinking with exhaustion, is yet insensible to His own agony, forgetful of Himself, and occupied solely with the consolation and instruction of the daughters of Jerusalem. He beholds their tears, and though He sees that they spring from in imperfect faith, yet He is pleased with their humble sorrow, and vouchsafes to reward them by exciting feelings of love and compunction in their hearts. He turns to them in the most benign manner, addresses them in sweet and persuasive accents, and while instructing them in the means of rendering their tears profitable, infuses into their souls particular graces and secret inspirations. Thus is Jesus ever good and beneficent in our regard, and ever occupied with our interests. Dh, how many graces would He bestow upon you, if you were but to meditate devoutly upon His Passion! Many tears have you frequently shed over a slight annoyance or illness, or for the death of a friend; but have you ever shed any over the sufferings which Jesus endured for your sake? Perhaps you have never paid Him the tribute of one single sigh. Bewail your thoughtlessness and want of love, and henceforward gratify the Heart of Jesus, to Whom tears of compassion for His sufferings are so very acceptable.

3. The words addressed by Jesus to the women.

   It is the Will of Jesus Christ that we should compassionate Him in His sufferings, but it is also His Will that our motives in compassionating Him should be similar to His own in dying for us. He suffers on account of our sins, and He desires that our compassion for Him should also have reference to them. Therefore it is that, turning to the holy women, He says, "Weep not for me, as though I were going to die for myself, but weep for the cause of my Passion and death, which is sin. Weep for yourselves and for your children, for whom I am going to die, that by my death I may make satisfaction for their sins and for yours." As though He had said, "I praise the love you have for me, I accept the offering of your tears, but unless you make reparation for your sins by tears of true repentance, my Passion and death will be of no avail to you." "Look at me," says Jesus to you also, O Christians, "and reflect upon yourselves, since if I endure such bitter torments for sins not my Own, what eternal punishments must not be looked for from Divine Justice by those who neglect to cancel their offenses by tears of true repentance?" Shed tears of compunction over your sins which have transformed the Son of God into a Man of sorrows; your tears will then be of real service to you, and your compassion for Jesus in His sufferings will be of lasting benefit to your soul. They will be blessed tears indeed, if you mingle them with the Blood of Jesus, and cleanse your soul from all its defilements.

The Fruit

   Examine this day which is your most habitual failing, and determine seriously to correct it. Make frequent acts of contrition for your sins, and offer in satisfaction for them the blood shed by Jesus on His way to Calvary. Receive all the trials and tribulations of life as a penance for your sins. You may thus easily pay the debts you owe Divine Justice.


   Blessed Clare of Monte Falco was filled from her childhood with such tender devotion and ardent love for Jesus Crucified, and so eager a desire of suffering, that when only six years of age she would macerate her innocent body by the most excessive mortifications. Her bed was always the bare ground or a hard board. The floor and walls of her room were stained with blood, and bore testimony to the innocent cruelty with which she frequently took the discipline in memory of the sufferings of Jesus. The Passion was the ordinary subject of her meditations, for she would say, "Can anyone who has once beheld Jesus on the Cross ever think of any other object?" Her ardent desire of suffering for the love of Jesus Crucified induced her to implore Him most fervently to give her some share in the pains and torments of His Passion. Our blessed Redeemer appeared to her one day, and told her that her devotion to His sufferings was most pleasing to Him, and that all the instruments of His Passion should be imprinted on her heart; which in effect took place miraculously, so that after her death the wonderful marks were distinctly visible.