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From the cross, Jesus looked down at his mother Mary and the disciple whom he loved. The gospel of John never tells us who that beloved disciple is. But some scripture scholars have speculated that John intentionally did this so that all Christians can know themselves as beloved disciples of Christ. I like this thought. Because when Jesus goes on to say to his mother “Woman, here is your son.” (John 19:26) that means he says the following to us “Here is your mother.” (John 19:27). And this, our mother, was born immaculate, without any stain of sin. Pope Pius IX defined this dogma in 1854 and a little girl named Bernadette Soubirous heard the Virgin Mary confirm this dogma saying these words in an apparition in 1858 “I am the Immaculate Conception”. How, then, should we relate to this great mother of ours? Let us listen to what Pius IX recommends: “Let them fly with utter confidence to this most sweet Mother of mercy and grace in all dangers, difficulties, needs, doubts, and fears. Under her guidance, under her patronage, under her kindness and protection, nothing is to be feared; nothing is hopeless. Because, while bearing toward us a truly motherly affection and having in her care the work of our salvation, she is solicitous about the whole human race.” He motherly care for us, rooted in the power of her son and our Savior Jesus Christ, should give us so much confidence, hope, and joy. As she said to Juan Diego at Guadalupe Mexico 492 years ago when he felt worried about his uncle’s illness: ” Do not be concerned, do not fear the illness, or any other illness or calamity. Am I, your mother, not here? Are you not under my protective shade, my shadow?”