Our Lords Passion

The following meditation is taken from In Conversation with God by Francis Fernandez, Vol 2, p. 231.


Our Lord’s Passion should be a frequent theme in our prayer

Our Lord’s Passion should be a frequent theme in our prayer, but especially so in these days leading up to the central mystery of our redemption.

“My people! What have I done, in what way have I offended you?  Answer me.  I gave you the water of salvation which flowed from my sorrow to drink and you gave me honey and vinegar.  My people, what Have I done to you?” (Liturgy, Good Friday)

The Liturgy of these days during Lent brings us closer to the fundamental mystery of our Faith – the Resurrection of the Lord.  If the liturgical year is centred upon Easter then this period “demands an even greater devotion on our part, given its proximity to the sublime mysteries of divine mercy.” (St. Leo the Great, Sermon, 67)  But we  should not tread this path too hastily, lest we lose sight of  a very simple fact which we might easily overlook.  We will not be able to share n Our Lord’s Resurrection unless we unite ourselves with him in his Passion and Death.(cf. Romans 8:17).  “If we are to accompany Christ in his glory at the end of Holy Week, we must first enter into his holocaust and be truly united to him as he lies dead on Calvary.”(St. Jose Escrivá, Christ is passing us by, 95) So during these days let us accompany Jesus, in our prayers, along his painful way to Calvary and his death on the cross. As we keep him company let us not forget that we too were protagonists in all those horrors, for Jesus “bore the burned of our sins”, (1 Peter 2:24) each and every one of them.  We were freed from the hands of the devil and from eternal death “at a great price” (1 Corinthians 6:20), that of the Blood of Christ.

The custom of meditating on the Passion began in the very earliest days of Christianity.  Many of the faithful in Jerusalem had themselves been present as Christ passed through the streets of the city on the eve of the Pasch (Passover).  They would never forget Jesus’ sufferings as he made his way to Calvary.  The Evangelists dedicated a good part of their writings to the detailed account of those events.  “We should read our Lord’s Passion constantly,” said St. John Chrysostom; “what great benefit we will gain by doing so.  Even if you are as hard as stone, when you contemplate that He was sarcastically adorned, then ridiculed, beaten and subjected to the final agonies, you will be moved to cast all pride from your soul.”  (St. John Chrysostom, Homilies on the Gospel of Matthew, 87,1)

St. Thomas Aquinas said that “the Passion of Christ is enough to serve as a guide and model throughout our lives.” (St. Thomas , About the Creed, 6).  One day while he was visiting St. Bonaventure, St Thomas asked him where he had acquired such good doctrine as the one that he set out in his works.  It is said that St. Bonaventure showed him a crucifix, which was blackened from all the kisses he had given it, and explained: “This is the book that tells me what I should write; the little I know I learned from it.” (St. Alphonsus Liguori, Meditations on Christ’s Passion, 1:4) From the crucifix the saints learned now to suffer and truly love Christ.  We too should learn from it.  “Your crucifix….as a Christian, you should always carry your crucifix with you. And place it on your desk.  And kiss it before going to bed and when you wake up; and when your poor body rebels against your soul, kiss it again.” (St. Jose, The Way, 32)

Our Lord’s Passion should be a frequent theme in our prayer, but especially so in these days leading up to the central mystery of our redemption.