Jesus' mental agony in Gethsemane, the Stations of the Cross and Calvary meditated upon slowly and attentively gradually reveal the involvement of the Father in the Passion and death of his Son and the insights we gain from this revelation can be profound and have lasting effect on our lives. In Gethsemane Jesus sweats blood at the mental vision he has of what awaits him over the next day and in anguish seeks the company of the three apostles he had brought with him, only to find them asleep. But his Father, knowing his torment, sends an angel to strengthen him - not comfort him - strengthen him. He does the same for us when he asks us to bear watching the havoc wrought by a terminal illness in a loved one, bear our own illnesses, the death of loved ones or our own approaching death. We are not usually alone in bearing these crosses but Jesus was completely alone for the first three Stations as he is falsely accused, mocked, jeered at and condemned to die, when they load the cross-bar of the cross onto his bleeding shoulders and scourged body and when he falls under their rough handling for the first time. There is not a friend or loving face anywhere in sight. But from the 4th Station to the 9th inclusive his heavenly Father lets him know that he has not abandoned him. When his heartbroken mother stands before him, his grief at her suffering must have been intense. But as he continues his stumbling journey he knows now that amongst the hostile crowd and the gloating Pharisees there is his sinless mother whose love wraps him in its warmth and follows him to the end. Then there is Simon: The callous soldiers, fearful lest Jesus die on the journey, push in a reluctant stranger, Simon of Cyrene to help him. It is now Jesus who silently wraps Simon in his love as he takes the cross-bar from his shoulders and carries it, a changed man no doubt, to the end. Further on a woman named Veronica, also a stranger, moved by compassion, ignores the threatening soldiers, takes off her veil and wipes the blood and sweat from Jesus' face and eyes. When she looks at the veil later on she finds that same face looking back at her, stamped on it by Jesus, never outdone in kindness and generosity. Further on some other women are waiting and weeping. Jesus sees them and speaks to them and gives them a prophetic warning about the future of Jerusalem which has rejected him. To this day Veronica, Simon and the women of Jerusalem are remembered every time the Stations of the Cross are prayed. This God of ours remembers and rewards even the smallest act of love or sacrifice. Jesus is pulled roughly onwards and falls again, flat on his face, this time almost at the point of death. He is yanked to his feet, Simon is dismissed, Jesus, alone again, is crucified, the Cross, bearing his tortured body is raised on high and his three hours of fierce agony begin. The moment the soldiers sit down to dice for his clothes his mother and John and relatives of his mother gather around the cross and remain with him until he dies.

These five episodes on the way to Calvary tell their own tale as we meditate before them. God is not remote or detached from his creation, as some would have us believe but involved in it down to the smallest detail, aware of our every movement, our every thought, every suffering and joy, even intervening in them when we need his help. He never lets us be tempted or suffer beyond endurance. As He acted towards the Son whose only desire was to do His Will, so will He act with us, his adopted sons and daughters as we struggle to conform our wills to his, in the knowledge that, in the end, this will alone will bring us a peace the world cannot give. We need to give time and space to engrave this truth on our hearts and above all we need to pray to understand its importance.  It was when Jesus was praying that the apostles, struck by something about him, said: "Master, teach us to pray as John taught his followers to pray" Jesus did so but his prayer was a pattern for all prayer in its composition as well as in the words.

 

Our Father who art in Heaven, hallowed be Thy Name.

Thy Kingdom come.

Thy Will be done on earth as it is in Heaven………

Give us today our daily bread

And forgive us our sins

As we forgive those who sin against us.

Let us not fall into temptation

But deliver us from the evil one.

Our relatives and friends and all who are in the bliss of Heaven are doing the Father's Will in their happiness.

Jesus tells us that to do and accept his Father's Will for us on earth is a foretaste of the happiness of the blest.

 

PRAYER

Give me, O Holy Spirit, the courage to pray this prayer and mean it.

If you will have me to be in light, may you be blessed

If you will have me to be in darkness, may you be equally blessed.

If you mercifully comfort me may you be blessed

If you will that I be afflicted may you be equally blessed.

Keep me from all sin and I shall fear neither death nor hell.

So long as you do not blot me out of the Book of Life

Nor abandon me forever, no tribulation which befalls me will hurt me

Because in all things I place my trust in your Merciful and Sacred Heart.

 . 

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