The Attractiveness of the Passion.
I, if I be lifted up from the earth, will draw all men to Me. (St. John xii. 32.)
1. The Passion of Jesus Christ is the most wonderful tragedy that the world has ever seen. In it we witness the agony and death of a God tortured and murdered by His own creatures. What sight so wondrous as this? What sight so attractive to sinners? In Thee, O Jesus, dying for me, are fixed all my hopes for time and for eternity. Grant that I may always trust in Thee and love Thee with my whole heart and soul.
2. The Passion of Christ is also attractive to us because we know that it is the model of what our lives must be if we are to obtain a high place in Heaven. If we have been conformed to the likeness of His Death we shall be also to the likeness of His Resurrection. We have a sort of instinctive consciousness that suffering is necessary to purify us and prepare us for Heaven, and that in the Passion of Christ we have the type and pattern of what human nature must suffer in order that it may be rendered fit for the presence of God.
3. We must all suffer as we pass through this valley of tears, and we are desirous to know how we should behave under the inevitable lot that is in store for us. Where are we to look for strength to endure? Where are we to seek for consolation? Who will sympathize with us and help us when sorrow seems to overwhelm us? To all these questions we find an answer as we gaze upon the scene of Calvary. O Jesus, may we look to Thee in every trial and sorrow!
The Glory of the Passion before God.
From The History of the Sacred Passion, pp. 288—290, by Father de la Palma.
The Eternal Father beheld this spectacle, so wonderful in every way, and so worthy of His eyes; and if we are to speak of so sublime and secret a mystery in the language of men, no words can describe the joy and exultation which He felt on beholding the great deeds wrought by His most loving Son tip on the Cross, and which were all for His greater glory and the manifestation of His holiness. If a human father rejoices when he sees his son come forth armed for the combat, seated firmly upon his steed with courage and noble bearing, with nothing weak or craven in his mien, and then beholds him rout his enemies, and subdue and trample them under foot gloriously, especially if he has entered on the quarrel on account of the insults offered to his father, and in order to satisfy his honor, what must have been the complacency of the Eternal Father at the sight of His most beloved and obedient Son, to see Him so well set on the Cross, showing no sign of weakness or impatience, suffering with so much meekness, offering Himself with such charity, inspiring His opponents with terror through His courage and valor, revenging the insults offered to His Father, satisfying His honor, and making a great exhibition of the justice and mercy of God and a manifestation of His glory and sanctity?
Again, if the smoke of the ancient sacrifices, in which the flesh of animals was consumed with material fire, was accepted by God in the odor of sanctity, how acceptable to Him must this sacrifice have been, in which the Priest was His most beloved Son, true Man and true God, offering Himself on the altar of the Cross as a living and acceptable sacrifice, shedding all His Blood as the price and purification of our sins; where also His Body was consumed in the fire of suffering, and His Heart in the fire of charity? God was doubtless so satisfied with this payment, and so honored by this sacrifice, that He began from that moment to take no pleasure in the old sacrifices of the Law, which had only pleased Him in so far as they had been the representation and shadow of this new sacrifice.
This is that sacrifice, which being offered once only, was sufficient for all men and for all ages, without there being need of any other. For by this sacrifice alone was the anger of God appeased, His justice satisfied, sins pardoned, the world reconciled, and the gifts of grace and glory earned for men. And as God promised to Noe, that when it rained abundantly he should behold His rainbow (which He had placed in the clouds in token of His friendship for man), so that the earth should not again be destroyed by water, so, much more, God beholding His Son suspended on the Cross, with His hands stretched out like a bow, takes from out the bow of His anger the arrows which He had been ready to send forth, and in place of chastisements gives embraces, more forced and conquered by this powerful Bow, which is Christ, to show mercy, than irritated by our sins to take vengeance for them.
For, as the reason why Christ loved man is not man but God, so likewise the reason why God has promised so many good things to man is not man himself, but Christ our Redeemer. Again, the reason why the Son loves us, is because the Father commanded Him to do so, and the reason why His Father looks on us with favor, is because His Son has entreated it and merited it. These are those super celestial planets, by whose marvelous aspect the Church is governed, and by which all the influences of grace are sent down upon the world.
How strong are the cords of the love which God bears us! and not less strong is the hope which we have in Him. Thou lovest us, good Jesus, because Thy Father commandeth Thee, and Thy Father pardons us, because Thou dost entreat Him. Through Thy observance of His will and commandment it comes about that Thou lovest me, because Thy obedience requires it of Thee, and through His beholding Thy sufferings and Thy wounds come to me pardon and salvation, because so Thy merits require. Look one on the other ever, O Father and Son, look on one another without ceasing, because thus my salvation is secured! O look of power above nature, O aspect of Divine stars, whence proceed so certainly the rays of Divine grace! When will such a Son disobey? When will such a Father cease to regard His Son? And if the Son obeys, whom will He not love? And if the Father looks on His Son, who shall not be pardoned? Let us then with humble reverence say to Him, whilst presenting to Him His beloved Son, nailed for our sakes upon the Cross, Protector noster aspice Deus, et respice in faciem Christi tui — “Look upon us, God our Protector, and regard the face of Thy Christ.”
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This article, GOOD FRIDAY is a post from The Bellarmine Forum.
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