Friday, 29 March 2013

The Interior Passion of Our Lord

In the Liturgical Year, we’ve reached the day which our sanctification was bought by the price of God’s blood. We often dwell upon the physical side of Our Lord’s Passion, but I thought maybe we could go into the thoughts and pains which Jesus suffered for us that sometimes go unnoticed. Let us then go back into the events of this holy day, and see the truths which are revealed.
The Garden of Gethsemane: One point which is very consoling to think about is when Our Lord found the apostles sleeping. He asks Peter, “Could you not watch one hour with me?” And how does this apply to us? Well, Jesus, in His infinite wisdom never wanted us to say: “You don’t know how it feels,” so He let His friends abandon Him. He could have kept them awake, but wanted to show us that there will always be someone awake in our darkest times, one to share in our pains and console us in our everyday sufferings. He wanted to say that in the darkest and most confusing times in the world, He will always be there, even if the rest of the world is sleeping.
The Trial: “What is Truth?” This question is proposed to Christ during His trial with Pontius Pilate. Up to then Jesus had answered all the questions which were asked of Him, “Who are You; are You a King?” and so forth, but when this question is asked, He says nothing. Why? Because He is the Truth. God knows we often doubt Him and His Will, and so He wanted to send us something visible to depend upon – He sent His Son. Perhaps He didn’t answer because Pilate’s understanding of truth was limited to that of the world. Just like when Jesus said after curing the blind man, “I came into this world to give sight to those who cannot see, and to take away sight from those who can.” Our Lord only gives the Truth to those who ask of it, not those who claim they already know it. He was silent so that those who see may believe.
The Scourging at the Pillar: At this point, the torturing of the King of Kings begins but what was He thinking about? Well, if He was being killed for us, naturally He was thinking about us. But not just the human race in general, but you in particular. He’s infinite, and so He could think of every single person that will ever step foot on earth singularly and personally. His Heart already burdened with the sins of the world, and now with His flesh barely hanging on to His frail frame was always keeping the thought of you close to Him, with the hope of one day making you a great saint. With this thought did He shed each and every drop of blood and every silent tear for love of you. Why should we then fear when life gets difficult? Our Lord is just waiting there to hear your cry. Let’s not keep Our Lord waiting. Let’s then try to repay the love which He has for us!
Crowning with Thorns: Yet this isn’t enough for Him, He knows how discouraged we get when people think lowly of us and speak calumnies against us, so He decided to make up for that too. Not only was His poor Body but “some purple rags,” as Archbishop Fulton Sheen has put it, but a crown of thorns placed on His divine head which, as one doctor stated, penetrated through His skull which would have killed anyone instantly. And on top of this, He was mocked for love of us. How is it that we complain so bitterly when people don’t like us, when God Himself was mocked in the fullest sense of the word? Therefore He wanted to warn us in a sense, that we too would be mocked for following the Truth, but giving us hope and revealing that this is not our home, He took on this horrible torment.
The Carrying of the Cross: As His mangled body can barely stand, He is He given a cross to carry. This cross would not just be to put Him to death, but rather through this did He carry the cross of the whole human race. Upon this cross He would be sacrificed for us, and through this did He sanctify our daily duty and showed how difficult the road can get. He fell three times, but in getting back up again He showed how many times we can fall into sin, but that we always have to get right back up. At one point He was even too weak to carry the cross, but getting help from Simon of Cyrene He told us that our crosses will never be too much for us, there will always be help offered. Through this He showed us the way to live our lives, perseveringly, hopefully, and lovingly.
The Crucifixion: We’ve finally arrived at the end of Jesus’ torments, and, after all that was done to Him, He uttered the words, “Father, forgive them for they know not what they do.” This was in reference to those who were mocking and cursing Him, but perhaps in His mind was the thought of us being repentant of our sins. This is the main reason He died, and since He was thinking of you, He wanted to display His complete love and forgiveness to those who repent and do penance for their sins, and so in saying these words, He blessed all that truly love Him.
Complete Abandonment: “Father, why hast Thou forsaken Me?” The last act of love which He offered to us during His Passion was when He spoke these words. By this did He make up and repair all those hearts who are abandoned in the world. He took upon Himself the feeling of loneliness so that we can relate to Him and always have a friend. Notice He always gives hope to those who are lowly in the world, the friendless, abandoned, the mocked, but doesn’t offer consolation to the proud and conceited. “They’ve had their reward,” As Our Lord put it. Let us then always look towards Our Lord in our darkest times and offer up our lives to respond to His divine love.
And so it was completed. The infinite sacrifice offered to the Most High so that we may one day enter into the eternal kingdom. And who was this all for? You! How much more will you desire to be a saint with the thoughts of the Passion on your mind? This day is an everlasting reminder that this is not our home. We must first go through our own Passions to reach our Resurrection, and so let us now strive to become saints on this holy day. Let us give ourselves to God now, and not keep Him waiting in the garden of our soul. If you want to read the more physical side of His Passion, I would suggest reading “The Corporal Passion of Our Lord” by Doctor Pierre Barbet: http://www.columbia.edu/cu/augustine/arch/barbet.html
May God bless you all on this holy day!