Each one, as a good manager of God's different gifts, must use for the good of others the special gift he has received from God. (1 Peter 4:10)

Jesus’ Knees

The Crucifix in my parish church is beautifully crafted; suspended from the lofty ceiling, it is readily visible from every seat in the place. This past Sunday, my eyes turned toward this wonderful representation of my Lord and Savior in the ultimate expression of His love for us, and I began to reflect on the coming season of Lent and of how I can walk more closely with Him in these coming weeks.

I gazed, and I reflected … and all I could see was Jesus’ knees.

What came to me in that moment of prayerful reflection all but brought me to my own knees.

There is Mary, His beloved Mother, at the foot of the Cross, her heart and soul and mind and body still fully devoted to the “Yes!” she committed when the angel first told her she would have a Son. There is Mary,  trying to understand how things had come to this moment of humiliation, torture, and death, trusting God that He was bringing about His will. There is Mary, gazing at her beloved Boy, and she sees His knees — the knees she kissed and nuzzled for their sweet plumpness when He was a tiny child, the knees He brought to her as a little boy, scraped and bruised and needing a mother’s kiss to heal, the knees she taught Him to bend in reverence as she raised the human Child Jesus to love His Father.

Those knees. What mother has not kissed and tickled and squeezed her child’s knees and thought them adorable? What mother, seeing her child at whatever age hurting and desperately betrayed, would not be taken back — with wishful broken heart — to the innocent days of childhood when all she had to do was kiss those knees to make everything better?

Jesus’ knees. What mother would not feel a burst of love and tenderness as she sees her child kneel before God, those knees bent in worship, knees touching the ground so that the heart might touch heaven?

And what mother’s heart would not break, would not shatter entirely, to see those knees covered in bruises and cuts and scrapes inflicted out of hatred and fear, to see those knees wounded and battered in ways that she cannot kiss away?

Oh, Mary, your presence at the foot of His Cross reminds me as nothing else can of the utter depths of His love for us, expressed in this ultimate sacrifice. Your mother’s love poured out for your Child draws me into His Passion as nothing else could, because I understand a little of what a mother’s love is. Your mother’s love, poured out on us because He gave you to us, as He was dying, to be our own Mother — this love draws and sustains me even as I cannot bear to think of what pain my sins caused Him and, because of His pain, the pain I caused you. 

Oh, Mary, beloved Mother, be with me during this Lenten season, so that in walking with you along the Way of His Cross, I may better understand the nature and depth of His love. Through your intercession, dear Mother, let my offering of myself be a balm for His wounds. Together, you with the grace of one born sinless and I with the grace of one redeemed from sin, may we bathe His wounds with our tears, and may we heal Jesus’ knees. Amen.

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