SOLEMN COMMEMORATION OF THE PASSION
Friday before Ash Wednesday
Today we find ourselves immersed
in the Sacred Passion of the Crucified Christ.
It is an immersion into
Revelation’s greatest truth….
Wisdom’s greatest enlightenment
Love’s greatest gift.
Paul of the Cross says:
“ … the immersion of the soul in the sea of his most
holy passion … is his greatest and most astounding work
of divine love.” ……………Bialas p 215 n.230
Again Paul teaches:
“it’s true that this memory of the sacred passion
of Jesus Christ and the imitation of his holy virtues
should never be left aside….
The Passion still remains the door through which
the soul enters union with God, to profound recollection
and true contemplation:” ……….. Bialas 115 n. 249
This Solemn commemoration of the Passion
brings us into the liturgy.
And in the Liturgy we are united with the whole Church
in our remembering.
Pope Benedict XVI says that when we remember with the church
the event and the words are enriched by the presence of the Holy Spirit
and the truths of the event remembered are opened to us. ...... Jesus of Nazareth p. 234
Today in our remembering of the Sacred Passion of Jesus
graces flow abundantly…. and the fruit of the Cross nourishes our soul.
We are gifted both
in adoration and worship….
in mercy and redemption.
At the Last Supper Jesus was generous
and instructive. He gave us His Body to eat and His Blood to drink.
He also gave us the command: “Remember…..
Remember me….Remember my Passion ….
Today we come remembering … commemorating….
Today we are present to the Passion… we are in the Passion…
the Passion is opened to us…..
It is God’s gift of God to us.
It is our gift of God to God.
Salvation History’s greatest moment.
Eternity’s present moment.
In the opening prayer of this Liturgy
we prayed that our God
would keep before our eyes
the Mystery of Christ Crucified.
It is such a mystery that only God can make it present to us….
And God alone can keep it before our eyes
to the degree of attentive love.
we must keep before our eyes the Mystery of the Passion
Sometimes kneeling before the crucifix
suspended here above the altar.
There between heaven and earth He hangs,
hands raised up, nailed….
head bowed down, crowned,
hands raised in supplication,
head bowed in compassion….
He is Redeemer…. He is redemption...
Or to ponder the crucifix
on the wall in your cell…..
and know a delicate moment of grace…
a moment of contemplative prayer.
Perhaps one holds the crucifix
lovingly in the palm of the hand,
and there is the touch of love….
the touch of the leper… healing..
The soul, seeking deeper love with the Crucified Spouse,
must gaze at the Cross.
In this attentive act of love
the goodness, the mercy, the grace, the divine love
flow from the pierced side of the Crucified Spouse
and human hearts are transformed.
Saint Paul of the Cross says:
“The Passion still remains the door
through which the soul enters into union with God,
to profound recollection and true contemplation.” .....Bialas 115 n249
“It is true that the memory of the most holy Passion of Jesus Christ
with the imitation of his holy virtues is never to be left aside
even if you have a great degree of recollection and the highest
gift of prayer, since it is the door through which the soul
enters and is led to intimate union with God, to interior
recollection and to the most sublime contemplation.” ......Bialas 210 n215
Sometimes our gazing on the Crucified Christ
is through the Way of the Cross….
this daily journey with the Suffering Christ.
One can not walk this daily journey
without compassion….. without bonding…
a journey where suffering becomes love and love becomes suffering.
The soul learns the love of compassion,
and compassion unites… compassion opens heart to heart..
The Solemn Commemoration of the Passion
takes us to the Sacred Scriptures.
We listen and believe.
We hear and our sorrow becomes suffering
and our suffering becomes sorrow.
They led Him away.
At the Skull place they crucified Him.
Inadequate words for such an event!
Awesome truth beyond words.
We saw Him
a man of suffering…..
cut off from the land of the living….
We saw Him
oppressed and condemned…
smitten for the sins of his people….
as one smitten by God……
We saw Him
crushed for our sins
carrying the guilt of us all.
To see each suffering in the eyes of faith
is to receive the fruit of each suffering.
Well has Isaiah said
there was no stately bearing to make us look at Him.
Yet we have to look at Him.
Love pulls us to behold.
No appearance that would attract us to him.
He was One from whom men hide their faces…
Yet, in the Liturgy we pray that
God will keep before our eyes the mystery of the Christ Crucified.
We must gaze at the Crucified Christ.
We must believe.
The Sacred Readings of this Solemnity
never ceased to call us to profound faith.
Yet Isaiah raises the question:
“Who would believe what we have heard?”
Here is what we have heard:
They crucified Him…
He suffered and died for us.
It was our infirmities he bore….
our sufferings he endured….
He was pierced for our offenses…
He was crushed for our sins…..
He took away our sins….
He pardoned our offenses…
Father, forgive them, for they do not know
what they are doing…
The question comes again:
Who would believe what we have heard?
Those who are Brides of the Crucified Spouse
Those called into the Passionist community
Those who come frequently into the Paschal Mystery
and we believe
and we are humbled
We are attentive
and we cry for mercy
and enter into union
deeply aware that “the holy passion is the greatest and most
astounding work of divine love.” .......Bialas page 215 n 230
To commemorate the Sacred Passion of the Crucified Christ
is to fish in the sea of divine love.
“When completely immersed in pure love
without images, in a most pure and naked faith
….. the soul in an instant finds itself
wholly immersed in the sea of suffering of our Savior
Then with eyes of faith, without knowing how,
the soul understands all in suffering
because the passion of Jesus is a work of love….” ....Bialas 204 n 197
To commemorate the Passion of the Crucified Christ
is to become aware of the virtues of the suffering Christ
and to be moved to live them:
Obedience to the will of the Father….
Trust to the point of total abandonment….and naked faith
Patience in complete surrender to the love of the Father…
Humility to the death on a Cross….His All our Nothingness
Forgiveness: Father, forgive them for they know not what they do.
Generosity: Father into your hands I commend my spirit.
To commemorate the Passion of the Crucified Christ
is entering the interior chamber…. that vast solitude in the ground center of the soul
and there lose one’s self completely in that Infinite Good.
“Enter there but enter entirely clothed in the sufferings
of the Most Holy Divine Spouse.” .......Bialas p 211 n 221
Saint Vincent Mary Strambi calls the Passion of Jesus a great book.
“Come, O Christians, and consider the lessons
which appear in this divine book…” ....Office Book p 27
Our Commemoration of the Sacred Passion of Jesus
is the reading of the Divine Book of the Passion.
We take with us the following blessings:
To commemorate the Passion of Jesus the Crucified fruitfully
is to know
the suffering Christ as the Crucified Spouse…..
is to pray
from the simplicity of a colloquy
to the sublimity of infused prayer….
is to share in the suffering
from the inconvenience of a snow storm
to intensity of filial participation
is to love
from one’s humble desire to love
to the heights of the gift of union.
My prayer for you is
may the Solemn commemoration of the Passion of Our Lord Jesus Christ
be abundantly fruitful.
Solemn Commemoration of the Passion of Jesus
by Msgr. Bernard Powers