How should we react toward Christ’s Passion? Should we feel “pity” or “fear”, or something more – perhaps something like “freedom”, “gratitude”, and even “joy”? In what follows, Carla Borg reflects upon the Passion of Christ, subtly showing us that the Spirit of the Resurrection is concretely present even in the most horrific and painful of experiences. Grace extends even in death.
The passion and the crucifixion of Christ are very dear to me. In fact, I sincerely believe that if Christ had to call me to be His disciple, He would call me during that journey. In Christ who is suffering, I do not see a man whom I should pity; in Christ who is undergoing His passion, feelings of guilt and shame stay away from me. As He undergoes his passion, rather, I find myself lost in His loving gaze for me. My eyes meet His and I feel tenderly loved in a complete way, in a way I have never imagined before. I feel immersed in an ocean of unconditional love.
As He is enduring the scourging, I do not see Jesus as a victim of human sin, but my Saviour who is freeing me and saving me. I realise how deeply precious and dear I am for God. I find myself wanting to hide and find comfort in His wounds. I find myself wanting to walk all this journey with Him – to be there for Him. And I can see the Spirit of the Resurrection already present.
Why should I be afraid of His passion, why should I seek to run away – when in those moments I can experience his deepest and most tender love for me?
His blood is sanctifying. It heals me. He gives me the courage to follow in His footsteps and also embrace the pains of my life steadfastly. I love the passion of Christ, for I do not simply see a human being who is undergoing pain and suffering from human sin, but the glory of God. Because during this affliction, from Him emerged only light, unconditional love, forgiveness. A torrential of graces were poured on to us! And these are graces which give us the strength to receive and accept the power of the Holy Spirit in our lives. Graces which, when we believe wholeheartedly that Jesus is our Saviour, can give us the faculty to transform our lives completely.
In light of all this, I am reminded of a metaphor that a priest once narrated on a radio-station. He compared the journey of Christ’s death and resurrection to a woman giving labour. The pain and suffering, irrespective of their horror, are ultimately needed for the child to be born. This means that suffering isn’t something that we should always attempt to escape, but to realise that sometimes there is a kind of freedom and potential growth in it. In a sense, the Resurrection wouldn’t make sense without the antecedence of Death. And this death – all form of death – is never separated from He who loves us. Grace gives colour even to the blackness of the tomb.
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