Yet, the special relation of the Beloved Disciple to the Virgin Mother, which no Christian could wish to minimise, need in no way obscure the fact that the words of the dying Christ include something more general than the commendation of our Lady to the care of His Apostle. " The occasion is too important, and the hour too solemn, for these words not to possess a higher meaning. Jesus beholds near Him the Mother of mankind, and by her side the pure and loving disciple." St. John is a figure and type of all disciples, who, redeemed by His Blood, should own our Lord to be their Master.
All Christians have their share not only in the prayer of Christ for those who willed His Death, not only in the promises of Christ to the repentant thief, but also in the grant of Christ to His chosen Disciple: " Behold thy Mother." When Mary heard the Word of Christ: " Behold thy Son," she beheld John with the eyes of her body, faithful by her side beneath the Cross, but who will dare deny that in the person of John, she received as her children, all those in every age who, with John, should call her Mother ?
It is the case that no one of the Fathers in his extant writings, when commenting on the words Behold thy Son, understands all Christians to be thereby included. George of Nicomedia in the ninth century makes our Lord say to His Blessed Mother: " Through him [St. John] I commit to thy care My other disciples. ... Be thou to them that which mothers are wont to be to their sons—rather, that which I should be were I with them still, and they shall offer to thee the duties of sons and subjects." I think, however, that here the reference is only to the disciples of Christ who were alive at the time.