Nothing is more difficult than Christ Crucified – so nothing must stop me from begging His forgiveness…
Today, on Palm Sunday, the season of Passiontide in underway, as we fervently begin the final week of Lent. It is during this time that for the first time in a very long time, my prayers have changed a little.
Of course, my prayers for the intentions for all of you who pray with me remain, but there is something different in my prayers these days…
These days, my prayers are more silence than words.
There is something in that silence, or perhaps it would be more accurate to say that there is SOMEONE in that silence.
The Holy Spirit speaks to me – to all of us – through the silence. Christ gave Him to me – to all of us – as an invitation into the relationship of the Holy Trinity. Pope Francis summarised it beautifully when he said, “We are not merely guests and pilgrims journeying on this Earth; we are also guests and pilgrims in the mystery of the Trinity.”
Now is a period when my soul seems to settle into quiet contemplation of what it is that Christ Himself actually did for us on that Cross.
It occurs to me that though it is difficult to stop myself from sinning, it was far more difficult a thing for Christ to be crucified. Watching Him on the Cross and deliberately placing the uncomfortable image of the crucifixion before me, reminds me of how far I must travel in my pilgrimage to Calvary.
Today, despite all the complaints that I bear through my day, and all the heartache of the years, my journey to Sainthood seems littered with palm and olive branches, not rocks and falls.
And though I ride over these branches, I lack the wisdom to see them for what they are and I fail to accept the Cross to which they lead.
Poor poor Jesus. He rode over those branches and He never once complained. I can see Him in my mind’s eye embracing the shallow love of the crowd and accepting it. He did not judge them, or condemn them. He did not reject them knowing the words they would cry, “Crucify Him! Crucify Him!” (Luke 23:21). He did not look ahead to the Cross that He would be hanging upon in five short days, and wail and bargain and negotiate.
Christ simply rode that donkey over the branches and accepted God’s will – in complete surrender – without once looking behind at His Earthly life or ahead to the Cross.
How great is our God! How weak am I?
Christ is the perfect example for me, because He knew how to put things into perspective.
Our Blessed Mother was similarly gifted with this wisdom to place things into perspective.
Saint Ignatius of Loyola said, “Mary’s sorrow was less when she saw her only Son crucified, then it is now at the sight of man offending Him by sin.”
Christ’s greatest pain and sorrow was not the nails and scourging or the falls and spits or blows and insults… It was the sin that He witnessed, which caused Him most pain.
It was MY SIN!
Woe and shame upon me for having so offended my beloved. Woe and shame upon me…
And yet, despite MY SIN – which nailed Him to the Cross – Christ allowed me to retain this great indignity of His, this Cross. He suffered on it and allowed it to me as my support. The Cross that Crushed Him down into the dirt three times when He fell, is held up for me to drag me up.
For it is only through the Cross that we are sanctified for salvation.
For, as Saint John Vianney told us, when we make the sign of the Cross fervently and with devotion, “Hell tremble(s) and Heaven rejoice(s).”
That is Christ’s legacy to me. In exchange for my shameful sinfulness, with which I condemned Him, Christ gave me the Cross.
And so, though my journey to Calvary may one day be plagued with stones and falls and stumbles, and though there is great difficulty in journeying there as a sinner seeking forgiveness, I shall continue on that road to Calvary, dancing along the way...
For nothing could ever be for me as difficult as it was for Him, who hung on that Cross…
For with prayer, I stand on Holy Ground where everything is clear. Here. At the Foot of the Cross.