A MEDITATION ON THE WAY OF THE CROSS, AND THE PASSION OF THE CHRIST.9 Aprile 2020 --
Dear friends and enemies of Stilum Curiae, General Laporta wanted to share with us this beautiful reflection on the Way of the Cross that we are preparing to relive. A deep and precious meditation. Have a good reading.
Dear Marco, it is Holy Week; it does not seem appropriate to waste our thoughts on wars, viruses, and the like. I would just like to insert a few words to thank Our Lord. The release of Cardinal George Pell, a step away from his “cross”, must lead us to thank Our Lord with all our hearts. “Non Praevalebunt” (They will not prevail) is ours and in the heart of His Eminence Pell. The hashtag “all will be ok all right” is the hiss of the antagonists, here as in every part of the world.
Having said that, I would like to meditate on the atrocious violence, the ostensible protagonist of the next few hours, however defeated by the seal of Our Lord’s highest credit of love for His creatures, many of whom “do not know what they are doing”. This does not, however, set us free from the fear inspired by who else, today as yesterday and tomorrow, those who know very well what they are doing, much more clearly and, in the manner of lucifer, of those who tortured and put Him to death.
1) First Sorrowful Mystery: we contemplate Our Lord Jesus Christ in the Garden of Olives, His fear, His suffering, His loneliness, nevertheless defeated by His determination to obey the Father’s will.
My unforgettable teacher, the then colonel Raffaello Graziani, believer and non-Catholic, gave me a great lesson: «Soldiers must know how to obey; non-commissioned officers must be able to interpret orders; officers must know how to disobey and be fearless, otherwise they are more harmful than useless». The courage to which he referred, he explained to me, is that of the soul. Physical recklessness, like parachuting, he added, can reflect moral courage, as it often masks cowardice. Learn to distinguish, he concluded.
Christ in the Garden, so human to tremble terrorized by what awaits him, recalls the sad condition of the soldiers in the trenches. They ignore, do not even know the distant general who gives them orders, but are guided in their duty by adequate non-commissioned officers and fearless officers. However, many do their duty despite the inadequacy of non-commissioned officers and officers.
Many believers today have doubts that the non-commissioned officers, the priests, have lost their way and the officers, monsignors and bishops, are absolutely cowards.
Even Our Lord had this doubt, actually such a certainty, prone on the stone to pray. He was terrified, knowing what was about to happen. He prayed and went on to fulfill the plan of God the Father, as indeed most of the children of God do, more than we might imagine.
2) Second Sorrowful Mystery: we contemplate Our Lord Jesus Christ, stripped naked, tied to the column and scourged.
Too little is meditated on the scourge, a lash of leather strips, ending with metal spheres, to tear the flesh to the bone, bringing the most unbearable suffering to the exposed nerves.
Only a Crucifix by an unknown artist, which I saw in a Roman church, gives an idea of the unbearable suffering endured by Christ. Let us contemplate the Holy Shroud to have a pale idea of His pain. Great artists represent the dead or suffering Christ with the impassive face like that of a butler. This, I fear, reflects the urge of too many priests to refuse meditation on the suffering of Christ, wrapping it in a curtain that is both artistic and unreal.
The purpose of Pontius Pilate was clear: to extort from Him a confession, a pleading of pity by Christ, making deny His divine nature, in order to return Him to the “bishops” who had brought Him, thus resolving the political problem. Christ did not release the Power from its responsibilities.
The Devil, Satan, the greatest devil of all, was beside the man, Christ, vulnerable and aware of what awaited him. The Devil suggested to Him the liberating surrender, that which the Power awaited… in vain.
3) Third Sorrowful Mystery: we contemplate Our Lord Jesus Christ beaten, mocked, crowned with thorns.
Thorn torture is also somewhat shaded in sacred iconography. The Holy Shroud once again can help us to understand its atrocity.
While the torture took place over a long night, Peter, the first Pontiff, heard the cock crow three times, just as Christ had mercifully predicted. Christ, through His pitiful prophecy, encouraged the sincere and nevertheless really difficult remorse of Peter, the first Pontiff. Peter cried, repented. However, he had relapses of cowardice. A simple “Quo Vadis?” was sufficient to correct his failures.
Peter was a great Pontiff and bravely faced his martyrdom. The faithful commemorate him today and take Peter’s human weakness as a warning not to yield to temptation, confiding always in help of Our Lord.
4) Fourth Sorrowful Mystery: we contemplate Our Lord on the Stations of the Cross, ascending Mount Calvary under the weight of the patibulum (gallows).
The horizontal wood, the patibulum, would then have been hoisted onto the stipes, the vertical one firmly fixed on top of Golgotha. More than one stipes awaited the unfortunates.
Our Lord Jesus Christ was led to Golgotha by the legionnaires of the centurion Cornelius, the first pagan converted by St. Peter. The Legio X Fretensis, as it was called, came from the two sides of the Messina Strait. It had been commissioned by the emperor Octavian himself.
The same crowd that a few days before was acclaiming the triumphant entry of Our Lord into Jerusalem, now mocked him, insulted Him and spat Him out as He went to His death.
It is a lesson in realism; those spits are an incessant warning for those who enjoy success, the complicity of the media, and the homages of the world.
5) Fifth Sorrowful Mystery: we contemplate Our Lord Jesus Christ, crucified and put to death.
He will rise again after three days. However, He dies as a man, with the terror of death gripping a man. He faces death in the most atrocious and incessant pain, beginning with the scourging.
The nails are fixed in the wrists, at the ends of the patibulum. If the nails had been stuck in the hands, as usually represented, the flesh and the fragile bones of the palm would have been torn. Legionaries were too experienced with this torture to make such a gross mistake. The nail in the wrist, as evidenced by the Holy Shroud, breaks the last nerves, spared from scourging; pain explodes in the brain. It’s not over yet.
When they hoist Him on the stipes, all His weight rests on the nailed wrists. They collect His feet, nail Him with semiflexed knees, so that the Condemned Man is induced to relieve the pain in His wrists by hoisting Himself on His feet, only to fall again immediately and alternate toward a slow and an atrocious death. Finally, God the Father takes pity on the Beloved Son: “Father, in your hands I entrust my spirit”.
Our Lord rose after three days and the history of the world changed. The globalization of the Faith exploded. Vasco da Gama, when he arrived in India, was amazed to find Catholics converted by St. Thomas. We observe on Google maps what a marvel it was in those times.
Faith makes us aware that we are children of God, brothers, therefore, in the universal, Apostolic, Roman Catholic Church. From the peaceful globalization of the Faith, respectful of every man, of every single man, to the globalization of Our Lord Jesus Christ, there is one opposed, now unmasked by a less than microscopic virus, from which comes a warning not to genuflect in front of globalization, apparently trying to overwhelm us in the name of money.
We must never forget that “nothing is impossible for God”. We must not forget that Our Lord “is before everything was”. He is therefore not bound by anything, much less by time and space. In front of His Holy Cross we were all present in His eyes and we are still present, all, no one excluded, each of our cells, each of our thoughts, each of our sufferings, each of our joys, each of our sins, everything of us all: those created at the beginning of the world, how many were living while He was dying, how many countless follow, and will follow us, all.
His Death was, His Resurrection is, always, forever, eternally. Amen.
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