No greater love has a man than to lay
down his life for his friends. Jesus
died for all of humanity, but for you and me individually. He would have died
for you and for or me if we were the only person in the whole universe for all
time. How great is the love of Jesus for you and me!
The sin of Adam and Eve, the Original
Sin, was an infinite offence against God. Therefore, some act of reparation was
necessary in justice. So God in His infinite
wisdom and love decided to send His only Son, Our Lord and Savior Jesus Christ
as the means to repair for this infinite offense against the majesty of an all
The Incarnation. Jesus, the second Person of the Blessed
Trinity became man; we call this the Incarnation of the Son of God. Therefore, being both God and man, any action
whatsoever that He performed, even the most minimal, would have been sufficient
to repair for all of the sins of humanity. Jesus picking up a piece of wood,
taking one step, a wink of the eye, one mere breath—any of these simple actions
would have been sufficient to save humanity in its totality and every person
individually, a million times over.
Why? Because any action of the
God-man has infinite value! The next
question that follows logically is then why did He go through so much suffering
in His earthly life, especially all of the cruel and atrocious tortures of His
passion—from the sweating of His Precious Blood in the Garden of Olives, to the
dripping out of His Precious Blood on the gibbet of the cross? Why so much?
St. Ignatius of Loyola gives us two
basic reasons! First Jesus suffered such
excruciating tortures, both physical and emotional, to show to all of humanity
the gravity of sin. Second, and most important, to show us the depths of love.
In sum, Jesus died on the cross for you and me to repair for our sin and to
show you and me the depths of His love. “No greater love than to die for one’s
friends!” What love displayed by so
much suffering and for you and me!
In this essay we would like to offer ten
ways to understand the Passion, suffering and death of Jesus that was done for
love of you and me.
GOSPELS. Meditate prayerfully the Passion accounts in
the four Gospels; each Gospel has two chapters on the passion of Christ: Mt.26-27, Mk. 14-15, Lk. 22-23; and Jn. 18-19. Go to the ultimate
source; the Word of God!
CONTEMPLATE THE CROSS. Spend some time in silent contemplation
before a graphic crucifix. Contemplate with love the head crowned with thorns.
Then contemplate the five sacred wounds from which blood flowed for your
eternal salvation. Draw close and kiss
these wounds expressing your heartfelt gratitude!
WAY OF THE CROSS. Make the Way of the Cross. Walk slowly and
prayerfully contemplating the fourteen Stations of the Cross. Be with Our Lady
and John and the Magdalene accompanying Jesus the man of sorrows in His passion
that He suffered for you and me. In prayer, ask the Holy Spirit, which of the
fourteen stations touches your heart deepest!
MOVIE/FILM: THE PASSION OF THE CHRIST. View the film of the Passion of the Christ.
However, do not view it simply as some Hollywood rendition winning an Oscar for
the season. No! Rather contemplate the
film as if it were a prayer! Enter into the Ignatian mode of contemplation. Be
present there and ready to accompany the Lord Jesus in body, mind and heart
with Our Lady of sorrows!
MOVIE/FILM: MIRACLE OF
MARCELLINO. View this charming
film! Focus on the little boy Marcellino
and his intimate and growing friendship with Jesus as He hangs on the cross.
Become Marcellino yourself. Contemplate Jesus as He hangs on the cross. But go
deeper! Become Jesus’ loving friend. Talk to Jesus; share your feelings with
Jesus, your sorrows, your struggles, your fears, your doubts, your
insecurities, anxieties, your temptations and even your sins. Tell Jesus, as He
hangs on the cross, how much you love Him, how much you want to give up your
sin and how you want to be with Him in heaven for all eternity!
CONFESSION! Why not kneel before Jesus hanging on the
cross and with the deepest contrition of heart express your sorrow for having
been responsible for His horrendous and heart-rending passion. Then terminate
this Act of Contrition by making a good—better yet the best—confession in your
entire life! The Suffering savior awaits
you in this Sacrament of Mercy with His arms and Heart open to love and forgive
you! He invites you: “Come to me all and
I will give you rest… “(Mt. 11: 28)
Meditate upon the seven last words
that Jesus expressed from the cross:
· “Father forgive them for they do not know what they are doing.”
· “Woman behold thy son; son behold thy mother.”
· “My God, my God, why have thou forsaken me.”
· “Amen I say to you today, you will be with me in Paradise.”
· “Father into your hands I commend my spirit.”
HOLY MASS! By far the greatest act on earth is the Holy
Sacrifice of the Mass celebrated on the altar. In an invisible but real way in
every Mass the fruits of Jesus’ Passion and death on Calvary (that first Good
Friday) are renewed. Attend the Holy
Sacrifice of the Mass; participate fully actively and consciously. Most
important, receive the Eucharist (of course if you are in the state of grace)
with the greatest impulse of love from the depths of your heart. No greater way beneath the heavens on earth to
enter into the life-giving passion, death and Resurrection of Our Lord and Savior
Jesus Christ than the Holy Sacrifice of the Mass!
CONTEMPLATION ON THE PRECIOUS BLOOD
OF JESUS. Jesus shed His Precious Blood
several times for the salvation of the human race and for your soul that you
might be with Him forever in heaven. Ponder slowly and prayerfully the various
moments that He shed His Precious Blood, starting with the Circumcision as a
little Child. Then enter into the
various scenes in His life--- specifically His Passion in which He poured forth
His Precious Blood for love of you and me:
· GARDEN— Huge drops of Blood came pouring forth from His pores.
· SCOURGING—He was brutally scourged by the Roman flagellum, lacerating His
flesh and leaving His Body an open wound! He suffers this to repair for sins
against the virtue of purity.
· CROWNING WITH THORNS—His Sacred Head penetrated from scalp to His very
brain with sharp, piercing thorns, razor sharp!
· OPEN SHOULDER ON CALVARY—St. Bernard and others saints comment on the
excruciating pain He must have experienced with the cross and its splinters
piercing and penetrating His shoulder.
· RIPPING OFF OF HIS GARMENTS—Upon reaching Calvary the soldiers brutally
ripped off His garments thereby reopening the wounds inflicted on Him in the
scourging at the pillar; once again to repair for sins of impurity!
· CRUCIFIXION—nails pounded through and penetrating His Sacred Hands and
Feet. His Sacred Blood comes gushing
forth. As he hangs on the cross His
Sacred Blood oozes forth dripping to the ground.
· OPEN HEART—Even after He dies, he still gives of His Precious Blood. With
the lance, the soldier pierces His side penetrating His Sacred Heart and Blood
and water gushes forth!
10. OUR LADY OF
SORROWS. As in the film of Mel Gibson,
“The Passion of the Christ”, why not try to live all the different moments of
the Passion, suffering, and death of Our Lord and Savior Jesus Christ through
both the eyes and the Sorrowful and Immaculate Heart of Mary, the Mother of
God, the Mother of the Church, and our Mother!