A Good Friday Reflection
Yes, the sublime truth is that we will one day close our eyes upon this world and instantaneously open them in the next, but until that moment, ordained by heaven, we must serve God on earth. In studying the Passion, we will come to understand how.
We gaze at the figure of Christ on the cross and we often contemplate a still form. Apostles, to fully engage in the humanity of Christ, we must picture Him alive. Study Christ on the cross in the three hours of His anguish. This study will bear fruit because in these hours Jesus suffered every temptation which can be presented to us by the enemy. Triumph came in the overcoming of these temptations. Victory was secured by going through the Passion. Victory would not have been secured by avoiding the reality of the Passion and if it was this way for Jesus then it must be this way for us.
Jesus was tempted to believe that His suffering would be in vain, wasted as it were, by man's rejection of Him and, by extension, the Father and all of the children created by the Father. This was not true. While many reject God, many choose God and embrace their share of suffering along with Christ. The question asked by Jesus from the cross is this: "What will you do? Where will you stand?"
Stations of the Cross
1st Station- Jesus is condemned
The condemnation of Christ was anticipated, and was part, perhaps the greatest part, of God's plan for Jesus and for us. Tabor and Calvary. Transfiguration and Crucifixion. Both part of the tapestry of the life of the blameless one. Jesus was unjustly judged and condemned. When we share that experience, we must accept it quietly, like Christ.
2nd Station- Jesus accepts His cross
Accepting the cross is not a momentary action without consequences. It is a doorway through which we walk, entering an ongoing experience of Calvary as one who follows Christ.
3rd Station- Jesus falls the first time
Life throws us to the ground, whether through our own failures or the failures of others. This should not discourage us, even though discouragement accompanies the experience. Sometimes, even in the same day, following Christ requires a series of decisions to rise and continue on.
4th Station- Jesus meets His mother
Often our pain is increased by the reaction of others to our suffering. This painful prism of misunderstanding is another facet of the cross and should be viewed as such. Our Blessed Mother understands our pain perfectly, and just as she never left her son, she will never leave us.
5th Station- Simon helps Jesus
We resemble Christ when we move to assist another who struggles to manage a cross and Christ Himself is pleased when we humble ourselves and accept the help of others.
6th Station- Veronica wipes the face of Jesus
We are prompted through charity and mercy to help others. Others are blessed and consoled. And we take away with us the experience of God's goodness flowing through us, always conforming us more completely to Jesus as He makes His way into the world.
7th Station- Jesus falls the second time
Oh sad disappointment! More pain. Still, the journey remains incomplete. Must we continue? We rise and return to the cross, to the plan unfulfilled.
Pity the women who share the dreadful concern of Mary for the children of God. Each person is someone's child and holds the hopes and prayers of a mother that the world will be gentle and kind. Oh Jesus, give us your mercy for others.
8th Station- Jesus consoles the women of Jerusalem
Will you condemn Jesus, like Pilate, through terrible ambivalence and becoming lukewarm? Will you betray Jesus, like Judas, through rebellion and envy? Will you deny Jesus, like Peter, through fear and lack of conviction? Or will you remain with Jesus, like John, through a decision to love that is steadfast and constant?
9th Station- Jesus falls the third time
The commitment is to the death. The Collapsed knows only that life remains and, as such, must be offered until it is exhausted. Up. Onward. God will sustain. Let the Spirit drive us forward.
10th Station- Jesus is stripped of his garments
How sublime is the offering of standing naked before those who hate us and yet, in some way, less cruel than standing stripped before those who love us. Oh Jesus, give us the trust to endure all humiliation with confidence in the ultimate triumph of God's love.
11th Station- Jesus is nailed to the Cross
Agony and relief. Total commitment leaves less room for question. We ask not "if" anymore. We ask simply, "how", moment by moment in life's anguish.
12th Station- Jesus dies on the Cross
Perseverance is the jewel of all jewels. Do not doubt the triumph. Do not back away from the course.
13th Station- Jesus is laid in the arms of His Mother
Quiet at last. A grief complete, but pregnant with joy. Humanity endures total stillness, even while time awaits the birth of all hope, the triumph of triumphs.
14th Station- Jesus is laid in the tomb
The body is reposed and the life is concluded, returned totimelessness once again.
A Good Friday Reflection