Sunday, February 25, 2007

Lent


(Jan Mostaert c. 1472)

On Friday evening, a February wind was whipping wildly in the darkness outdoors. We sat together, huddled beneath blankets beside a warm hearth, praying the Stations of the Cross.

We adore Thee, oh Christ, and we bless Thee
Because by Thy Holy Cross Thou hast redeemed the world.

As I cuddled close with my littlest ones, I could hear the clapboard creek and bend beneath the wintry assault. So cold and icy barren seemed all the world.

Jesus is Condemned to Death:
Pilate is afraid. He has looked into the eyes of Jesus and seen more than an ordinary man. Yet he is afraid of the people. "Take you Him and crucify Him." And so Pilate leaves Jesus; walks away worried, but unconverted. I might have done the same. How often I have looked into the face of Jesus, but turned away because I feared the judgement of the world. How often I have served the opinions of men and preferred their favor to His Truth.*

Our climbing roses are nothing now but thorny vines wound around their trellises. As the wild wind shook them, I could hear those thorns tapping and scratching at the sunroom window panes.

Jesus Meets His Mother:
What consolation is this... for son or for mother? Of all the places in the Holy Land, what memory is here! What thoughts pass through the minds of these two-- mother and son-- as their anguished gazes meet? What words are spoken?*

I felt a draft and checked to see that the window was fully closed. It was closed. I pressed my hand on the glass and it was numbingly cold.

Jesus Falls For the Third Time:
He reels and sickens again. All is a blur before Him. There are times that I am insensible to sin. My conscience has been so dull at times that I hardly realize my sin. That is what my guiltless Savior expiates for me now: my spirit of indifference.*

The wind seemed to double its force. There was a howl when it circled in on itself, gathering strength, and then a crack as it pushed against the walls and seemed almost to come through them.

Jesus is Nailed to the Cross:
It is too much. I cannot bear to think that the innocent hand He puts forth is to be hammered down as my stubborn and wayward will goes unchecked and free. I do what I please and He is nailed to a wooden beam as though He would try to run.*

How harsh, how unpleasant, how trying is Lent. When the weather seems cruelest-- wild, barren, icy and dry we contemplate the hard things of our Faith and we look closely at the torments of the cross. We consider the unpleasant things in ourselves and we take on difficult penances.

Why do we do these things?

Do we do them, as some believe, because we love suffering and harshness for its own sake? Do Christians, and Catholics in particular, have an unhealthy fascination with guilt, suffering and pain?

No, we do these things because we love beauty, and truth, and life and we desire to possess them fully and forever. We take up our crosses because He, the One who has conquered death, has told us that this is The Way to Resurrection and New Life.

"And he said to them all, If any man will come after me, let him deny himself, and take up his cross daily, and follow me. For whosoever will save his life shall lose it: but whosoever will lose his life for my sake, the same shall save it." (Luke 9:23, 24)

*(Selections from Meditations For the Way of the Cross by Rev. John C. Selner S.S., D.D.)

6 comments:

Ladybug Mommy Maria said...

Beautiful, beautiful post, Suzanne.

4andcounting said...

Beautiful. I am going to see if our Catholic bookstore has it, and if they don't I'm going to order it. Thanks!

Erin said...

Amazing.

Kristen Laurence said...

I have been looking for a beautiful Stations like this for years. Thank you!!

Mary Poppins NOT said...

"No, we do these things because we love beauty, and truth, and life and we desire to possess them fully and forever."

I am going to print this out and paste it in my icon studio. That is life in a nutshell, for me. Thank you so kindly for this lovely inspiration!

Leonie said...

Thank you, a nice reflection.

We attended Stations at our parish in Friday night and it was lovely -in spite of the hot and humid weather. You had one extreme of weather during Stations; we had another. :-)