We begin Passiontide on Sunday, the final part of Lent which is the immediate preparation for the celebration of the Easter Triduum. In consideration of this, I thought I would direct our Third Thursday Mens’ Discussion Group up the path toward Jersusalem.
By the way, we will be live-streaming the meeting, which will begin at 8:10 PM, Eastern Time (Thursday, March 18), and end at approximately 9:30 PM. Any male reader of this blog is welcome to join in. You will be able to see and hear the live video and to participate via chat. You will need a link and a password, which you may obtain by emailing me at firstname.lastname@example.org. Please put “Live-Stream” in the subject field.
Christ our High priest, walked along the Road to Jerusalem with his eyes wide open. In fact, when Peter remonstrated with him, Our Lord ostracized him and told the other eleven that if they did not come with Him they could forget the whole thing. No one took Our Lord’s life from Him, as he said. He laid it down freely, even though as God he saw clearly what it was through which He was to pass. He would not shrink from it and He would not candy coat it for His followers.
One of the worst things about suffering and the thing, perhaps, from which we recoil most of all, is the solitude of suffering. It seems to be the worst when there can be no real commiseration, as when a loved one dies and we are left alone, or when we are confronted with a critical illness, or when we carry a heavy responsibility. Even when we share a tragedy in common with family or friends, our own inner confrontation with reality is unique and no one can bring resolution but ourselves. And the more interior the suffering is the worse the predicament in which we find ourselves.
But Our Lord embraced not only the horror of his murder, but the mental anguish of our betrayal and our guilt. He became the scapegoat for our sins, a curse for our sake, by assuming our guilt. He felt the guilt keenly for sins he did not commit, whereas we make light of them. He willingly entered in to our misery out of love for us, as we shrink from toil and effort to correct our faults. Read this and weep—seriously.
Father Daniel Lord, S.J. writes that, like the knights errant of Arthurian legend, Christ fought alone, suffered alone, persevered alone. His companions abandoned him and while His Mother was his stalwart companion and monolith of solidarity, Her broken heart just broke His even more. No one could bear His sorrow or carry His burden, but Her. The love between them was a martyrdom, more for their great union of purpose and determination.
We find so many reasons to excuse ourselves when we suffer, we find so many reasons to complain. Where do we find the courage to suffer like a man—like the God-man? Only in the mystery of the Cross, which is the theme of the coming two weeks.
The crusaders died to arrive at the source of their devotion, Jerusalem and the Holy Sepulcher, but their path lead first to Calvary and some of them only saw the glory of the risen Christ after they had endured great personal suffering, and some only after the ultimate sacrifice.
Hope to see you at the discussion.