THE AGONY TO COME
“Nunc anima mea turbata est.
Et quid dicam?
Pater, salvifica me ex hora hac?
Sed propterea veni in horam hanc.
Pater, glorifica tuum nomen!
“Now my soul is troubled.
And what shall I say?
Father, save me from this hour?
No, for this purpose I have come to this hour.
Father, glorify thy name!”
THE GUARANTEE OF OUR HOPE
“The hope of every human being comes from the Cross,
sign of the victory
of love over hate,
of forgiveness over revenge,
of truth over falsehood,
of solidarity over egoism.”
(John Paul II, Synod of Bishops for Bishops, 30 Sept 2001)
FIVE REASONS FOR THE CROSS
We are sinners—we need to be purified.
We are spiritual athletes—we need to train.
We are debtors—we feel the need to pay back.
We are followers—we have to walk the road he walked.
We are apostles—we need to the power of the cross
to prepare and carry out our apostolate.
(Cf St Josemaría)
NEED FOR CLEANSING AND PRUNING
“I am the true vine,
and my Father is the vine-dresser.
Every branch in me that bears no fruit he will take away,
and every branch that bears fruit he will cleanse [prune],
that it may bear more fruit.”
NEED FOR TRAINING AND TESTING
“And the Lord said,
‘Simon, Simon, behold, Satan has claimed power over you all,
so that he can sift you like wheat:
but I have prayed for thee,
that thy faith may not fail.” (Lk 22:31-32)
“For you, O God, have tested us,
you have tried us as silver is tried: …
we went through fire and through water
but then you brought us relief.” (Ps 66:10,12)
“Blessed is the man who endures trial,
for when he has stood the test
he will receive the crown of life
which God has promised to those who love him.” (Jas 1:13)
“In this you rejoice,
though now for a little while
you may have to suffer various trials,
so that the genuineness of your faith,
more precious than gold which though perishable is tested by fire,
may redound to praise and glory and honor
at the revelation of Jesus Christ.”
“It may surprise you to learn that
in his efforts to get permanent possession of a soul,
he relies on the troughs even more than on the peaks;
some of his special favorites
have gone through longer and deeper troughs than anyone else.
Our cause is never more in danger than when a human,
no longer desiring, but still intending,
to do our Enemy’s will,
looks round upon a universe from which every trace of him
seems to have vanished,
and asks why he has been forsaken,
and still obeys.”
(CS Lewis, Screwtape Letters, VIII)
“God has tried them,
and found them worthy of himself.”
“[O]f all the apostles, Christ in the end asked least of him
who had given most.”
(L Trese, A Man Approved, 122)
NEED BY FOLLOWERS
“The ‘Life of Christ’ has been many years in writing.
But the deeper understanding of the unity of Christ and his Cross came
when Christ kept the author very close to his cross
in dark and painful hours.”
(F Sheen on his book Life of Christ)
“[T]hose who are oppressed by apparently senseless moral suffering
find in Jesus’ moral suffering the meaning of their own trials.”
(John Paul II, Go in Peace, 172)
NEEDED BY APOSTLES
“Every soul has a price tag.”
When suffering is seen from God’s perspective,
it makes us capable of consoling others and helping them,
it even gives us the strength to help others with their cross;
it makes us aware of other people’s own pain,
which may be far greater than our own.
“Jesus was troubled in spirit.
Little children …
Do not let your hearts be troubled. …
I will not leave you orphaned. …
Peace I leave with you, my peace I give to you …
do not let your hearts be troubled.”
(Jn 13:21,33; 14:1,8,27)
John Paul II, to one of his aides who lost a sister at the same time as an earlier illness of the Pope:
“The Church needed your pain and suffering.”
(Zenit interview with L Touze, Pope Reads His Life with the Eyes of a Contemplative, 14 March 2005)
BREAD THAT IS BROKEN TO BE GIVEN
“The moment has come to talk about our brokenness.
You are a broken man.
I am a broken man,
and all the people we know or know about are broken.
Our brokenness is so visible and tangible, so concrete and specific,
that it is often difficult to believe that there is much
to think, speak or write about other than our brokenness.
“Our brokenness is always lived and experienced
as highly personal, intimate and unique.
I am deeply convinced
that each human being suffers in a way no other human being suffers.
we can make comparisons;
we can talk about more or less suffering,
but, in the final analysis,
your pain and my pain are so deeply personal
that comparing them can bring scarcely any consolation or comfort.
Our brokenness is as unique as our chosenness and our blessedness.
“We human beings can suffer immense deprivations with great steadfastness,
but when we sense
that we no longer have anything to offer to anyone,
we quickly lose our grip on life.
Instinctively we know
that the joy of life comes from the ways in which we live together
and that the pain of life comes from the many ways we fail to do that well.
“How can we respond to this brokenness?
I'd like to suggest two ways:
first, befriending it and,
second, putting it under the blessing.
Our first, most spontaneous response to pain and suffering is
to avoid it,
to keep it at arm's length;
to ignore, circumvent or deny it.
Suffering—be it physical, mental or emotional—
is almost always experienced as an unwelcome intrusion into our lives,
something that should not be there.
“My own pain in life has taught me
that the first step to healing is not a step away from the pain,
but a step toward it.
Yes, we have to find the courage
to embrace our own brokenness,
to make our most feared enemy into a friend and
to claim it as an intimate companion.
I am convinced that healing is often so difficult
because we don’t want to know the pain.
Although this is true of all pain,
it is especially true of the pain that comes from a broken heart.
Attempting to avoid, repress or escape the pain
is like cutting off a limb that could be healed with proper attention.
“The deep truth is that our human suffering need not be an obstacle
to the joy and peace we so desire,
but can become, instead, the means to it.
The great spiritual call of the Beloved Children of God
is to pull their brokenness away from the shadow of the curse
and put it under the light of the blessing.
This is not as easy as it sounds.
However, great and heavy burdens become light and easy
when they are lived in the light of the blessing.
What seemed intolerable becomes a challenge.
What seemed a reason for depression becomes a source of purification. What seemed punishment becomes a gentle pruning.
What seemed rejection becomes a way to a deeper communion.
“This explains why true joy can be experienced
in the midst of great suffering.
It is the joy of being disciplined, purified and pruned.
Just as athletes who experience great pain as they run the race can,
at the same time,
taste the joy of knowing that they are coming closer to their goal.
Here joy and sorrow are no longer each other's opposites,
but have become the two sides of the same desire
to grow to the fullness of the Beloved”
(H Nouwen, Life of the Beloved)
FROM ALL SIDES
“Foris pugnae, intus timores.”
“All was conflict without, all was anxiety within.
[Fighting without and fear within.]
But there is one who never fails to comfort those who are brought low.”
(II Cor 7:6)
“For me, a day without the cross is a day without God.”
(St Josemaría, in El Hombre de Villa Tevere, 105)
“A unos les sobran cruces….
y me faltan Cristos.”
FOR EVERY BEARER A CROSS MADE TO FIT
“The everlasting God has in his wisdom
foreseen from eternity the cross that he now presents to you
as a gift from his inmost heart.
This cross he now sends you
he has considered with his all-knowing eyes,
understood with his divine mind,
tested with his wise justice,
warmed with loving arms
and weighed with his own hands
to see that it be not one inch too large
and not one ounce too heavy for you.
He has blessed it with his holy name,
anointed it with his consolation,
taken one last glance at you and your courage,
and then sent it to you from heaven,
a special greeting from God to you,
an alms of the all-merciful love of God.”
(St Francis de Sales)
IN LAETITA, NULLA DIES SINE CRUCE
“Beloved do not be surprised at the fiery ordeal
which comes upon you to prove you,
as though something strange were happening to you.
But rejoice in so far as you share Christ’s sufferings,
that you may also rejoice and be glad when his glory is revealed.”
(I Pt 4:12-13)
“You will be sorrowful,
but your sorrow will turn to joy….
and no one will take your joy from you.”
“O my God … I thank you and I praise you
for accomplishing your holy and all-lovable will
without any regard for mine.
With my whole heart,
in spite of my heart,
do I receive this cross I feared so much!
It is the cross of your choice,
the cross of your love.
I venerate it;
nor for anything in the world would I wish that it had not come,
since you willed it.
I keep it with gratitude and with joy,
as I do everything that comes from your hand;
and I shall strive to carry it
without letting it drag,
with all the respect and all the affection which your works deserve.
(St Francis de Sales)
Mary, my Mother,
make me generous
in the little offering that God asks of me everyday;
remind me each time
that to grow and bear fruit,
I must give up my life.
C:\Documents and Settings\user\My Documents\jmom RETREAT\crt_19Passion&Death.rtf
Revised 26 March 2005