St Teresa Benedicta of the Cross wrote in a poem: ‘Today I stood with you beneath the cross, And felt more clearly than I ever did / That you became our Mother only there. Even an earthly mother faithfully / Seeks to fulfil the last will of her son. But you became the handmaid of the Lord. The life and being of the God made Man / Was perfectly inscribed in your own life. So you could take your own into your heart, And with the lifeblood of your bitter pains / You purchased life anew for every soul. You know us all, our wounds, our imperfections; But you also know the celestial radiance / Which your Son’s love would shed on us in heaven. Thus carefully you guide our faltering footsteps, No price too high for you to lead us to our goal. But those whom you have chosen for companions / To stand with you around the eternal throne, They here must stand with you beneath the cross, And with the lifeblood of their own bitter pains / Must purchase heavenly glory for those souls / Whom God’s own Son entrusted to their care’.

This faithfulness of Our Lady at the foot of the Cross of her Son was fulfilled on the feast of Pentecost, when she was with the Apostles in the Upper Room and the Holy Spirit descended on them all, and the Church was born.

She remains as our heavenly Mother, alert to our every need, and ready always to respond. May she ‘pray for us sinners now, and at the hour of our death’; and may God bless you on this beautiful day.