The power of the Passion  of Jesus

One of the clearest signs of true love is the willingness to both sacrifice and suffer for the loved one. By far the greatest true lover that ever existed in this world was Our Lord and Savior Jesus Christ.

Jesus manifested His love for all of humanity,  through His Incarnation and Birth in Bethlehem, through His many Miracles, by His Sacred Doctrine and teaching, but even more so by the way that He chose for all eternity to die and end His short earthly stay—which lasted a short thirty three years!  Jesus chose His painful Passion and death on the cross to say to all of the world--- “I love you and want you to be with me forever in heaven.”

If Jesus has loved us so much by shedding every drop of His Precious Blood for us on Good Friday by being nailed to the cross, then what should I be willing to suffer and sacrifice for Him?  In this short essay we will offer three  concrete and practical suggestions to implement in our lives so that we can respond to the love of Jesus by the love in our own hearts!

St. Jose Maria Escriva Balaguer-- Founder of Opus Dei
1.    THE HEROIC MOMENT AND MORE!  The Founder of Opus Dei, Saint Jose Maria Escriva Balaguer, invites us to conquer ourselves from the outset in what he calls the HEROIC MOMENT.  Meaning? As soon as you hear your alarm clock in the morning then dart out of your bed, hit the floor with your knees and offer the day that is just starting to Jesus through Mary. Why not tomorrow morning go beyond this by rising five minutes earlier—a small sacrifice. Remember the words of Jesus:  “He who is faithful in the small will be faithful in the larger things.”  The Little Way of Saint Therese is precisely that: “Do the ordinary things of daily life with extraordinary love.”  This is the key of the saints! A good start will often pave the way for a successful ending!

St. John Paul II and the power of his sufferings offered to God
2.    OFFER UP YOUR SUFFERINGS. How many people suffer and complain about their suffering. Consequently, they lose all of the merits and graces that come with suffering.  Recently, I suffered from a somewhat painful infection—not death-threatening, but very irritating. I made a decision, why not take advantage of this moment of personal suffering so that God could send many graces upon me and others.  That Sunday, I was scheduled to celebrate three Masses, with the attendance of probably close to 2,500 people. I decided that I would offer my Mass for these people and their families, for their conversion, sanctification and for their eternal salvation. However, this time, I would place my suffering and sickness on the altar and when I offered up the Sacred Host and Precious Blood, I would be offering prayers for all these people, but also uniting my own small sacrifice(sufferings) for their spiritual advancement! My point is the following: suffering has value only inasmuch as we unite our sufferings to the sufferings of Our Lord and Savior Jesus Christ, especially in the context of the Holy Sacrifice of the Mass. Next time the Lord sends you some form of cross and suffering, do not waste your suffering but unite it to the suffering of Jesus and it will have infinite value. In the Diary of Saint Faustina there is a number where she mentions the fact that the angels have a holy jealousy for us and for two reasons: 1) we are able to receive Holy Communion in the Holy Sacrifice of the Mass and they cannot! 2) We are capable of suffering and the angels are not! Why the jealousy over our suffering?  For the simple reason that suffering accepted and united to Jesus’ cross brings down from heaven a deluge of graces!
Blessed Francisco and his sister Blessed Jacinta-- seers of Fatima (1917)

3.    VICTIM SOULS.   A victim soul is one who voluntarily offers himself to the Lord, accepting all the sufferings that God decides to send him. Why take on suffering as such? For various reasons: 1) many today sin and sin and sin and have no intention to stop sinning. The victim soul countermands in justice the sinful choices of so many souls. 2) Reparation.  Sin demands in justice that there be due reparation. Sin damages, prayer and sacrifices heal the wounds. 3) Console the wounded Heart of Jesus. Every time we sin we are wounding the Sacred Heart of Jesus and the Immaculate Heart of Mary. For that reason mystical art depicts Jesus’ Sacred Heart surrounded by sharp thorns and the Immaculate Heart of Mary pierced by a sword. Our sacrifices, acts of penance, and prayers serve to console the Hearts of Jesus and Mary. 4) CONVERSION AND SALVATION OF SINNERS.  If we truly love God then we should love what God loves most in His creation and that is, of course, the salvation of immortal souls.  Every soul has infinite value because it was saved by the Precious Blood that Jesus shed on the cross, that first Good Friday. A victim soul often has in mind and in his intentions the conversion of sinners and the salvation of immortal souls who will be with God for all eternity, being saved from the stark reality of eternal damnation!  A model for us!  Why not take as a model one of the youngest and endearing modern saints: BLESSED JACINTA MARTO!  In her beatification ceremony Saint Pope John Paul II actually called Jacinta “A little Victim soul” and her brother Blessed Francisco Marto was called “A little mystic”. After the July vision of Hell, in which Our Lady showed a graphic vision of hell, fire, the souls in torment with the devils, Jacinta was radically transformed, and lived heroic virtue from that moment on.  This “Little victim soul” Blessed Jacinta Marto could not offer up enough sacrifices, especially for the purpose of the conversion of sinners and their immortal salvation. The following are a few of the sacrifices carried out by Blessed Jacinta: Praying of many Rosaries and many more prayers, sacrificing eating her favorite food, sweet grapes, giving up one of her favorite past times, that of dancing, giving her lunch to the poorer children, wearing an uncomfortable rope around her waist, offering up drinking water on hot, humid and blistering summer days in Portugal, and even offering up her headache—all were done as a sacrifice to Jesus and Mary for the conversion of sinners and their salvation of their immortal souls.
A great lover of Mary-- Pope Francis!

CONCLUSION. Most of us are not called to be victim souls like Blessed Jacinta Marto or Saint Padre Pio. However, all of us can and should make it a frequent habit of offering up our crosses, sufferings and our sacrifices to Jesus through the Immaculate Heart of Mary for the salvation of souls. One soul is worth more than the whole created universe. Let us work with generosity in this short life of ours so as to reap and abundant harvest of souls for all eternity!