A point to ponder especially today: How have you repaid Him?
I would like to offer you an opportunity for a powerful Good Friday meditation, or at least a thought to carry with you on this holy yet somber day. And I invite you to take its message to heart every day, especially during the approaching Easter Season.
I enjoy the movie “The Passion of the Christ.” Okay, perhaps enjoy isn’t the right word. Better to say “I appreciate” the movie, which depicts the gruesome end of Jesus’ human life on earth.
Yes, I already know the story after having read the four Gospels and heard them spoken at Mass throughout my life. And yes, it’s an extremely graphic film. That’s why I find it so powerful. The suffering and death of Jesus was a graphic, messy, horrid event. I need to see that, know that, understand the power of that. I need to abide in the depth of love the Son of God displayed during the original Holy Week.
For me, prayer is one way for me to abide in God’s love. Such meditation deepens when I close my eyes and focus upon Jesus agonizing in the garden and hanging on the cross.
After reading a reflection in the devotional “Divine Intimacy,” written by Father Gabriel of St. Mary Magdelen, I can meditate on a different image of God’s love for me. I hope this writing by the the Carmelite priest assists you as well.
Two passages from the prophet Isaiah– Chapter 62:11 through 63: 1-7 and Chapter 53:1-12 – contain lessons which describe in a very impressive way the figure of Jesus, the Man of Sorrows. It is the suffering Christ who presents Himself to us, covered with the shining purple of His Blood, wounded from head to foot.
Why is your apparel red, and your garments like one who treads the wine press?
“The wine press I have trodden alone, and from the peoples no one was with me.
All alone, Jesus trod the winepress of His Passion. Let us think of His agony in the Garden of Olives, where the vehemence of His grief covered all His members with a bloody sweat. Let us think of the moment when Pilate, after having Him scourged, brought Him before the mob, saying: “Behold the Man!” Jesus stood there, His head crowned with thorns, His flesh lacerated by the whips; the brilliant red of His Blood mingled with the purple of His cloak, that cloak of derision with which the soldiers had clothed their mock king. Christ was offering Himself as a sacrifice for men, shedding His Blood for their salvation, and men were abandoning Him.
I looked about, but there was no one to help,
I was appalled that there was no one to lend support
Where were the sick whom He had cured, the blind who at the touch of His Hand had recovered their sight, the dead who were raised to life, the thousands whom He had miraculously fed with bread in the wilderness, the wretched without number who in countless ways had experienced His goodness? Before Jesus there was only an infuriated mob clamoring: “Crucify Him! Crucify Him!”Even the Apostles, His most intimate friends, had fled; indeed one of them had betrayed Him.
For it is not an enemy that reviled me — that I could bear. Not a foe who viewed me with contempt — from that I could hide.
But it was you, my other self, my comrade and friend, You, whose company I enjoyed, at whose side I walked in the house of God.
To this text from the weekly Mid-Morning Prayer of the Divine Office, which is so deeply expressive of the bitterness Jesus felt when betrayed and abandoned by His own, there is a corresponding response at the Office of Readings: “Instead of loving Me, they decried Me, and returned evil for good, and hate in exchange for My love.” As we contemplate Jesus in His Passion, each one of us can say to himself as St. Paul said in his Letter to the Galatians, “Dilexit me, et tradidit semetipsum pro me.” “He loved me, and delivered Himself for me.”
And it would be well to add to our Good Friday meditation: “How have I repaid His love?”
Check out the Amazon page for “Divine Intimacy.”