But he was wounded for our transgressions, he was bruised for our iniquities; upon him was the chastisement that made us whole, and with his stripes we are healed.
~Isaiah 53:5 (RSVCE)
The soldiers arrive and find that Jesus is already dead. Instead of breaking His bones, they pierced His side and at once blood and water flow out. The bride of Christ, for whom He gave Himself up as a sacrifice, was born at that moment. Through our baptism and the partaking of the most Holy Eucharist, we are intimately united with Him and reminded of His eternal, selfless and unconditional love for us. As St. Anthony of Padua said, nowhere other than looking at himself in the mirror of the cross can a man better understand of how much he is worth.
Looking on are the faithful women and the beloved disciple. Their love and compassion for Christ have not allowed them to depart from His side, even during the darkest hour. And as His body is placed into the arms of His mother she clings to Him, not defeated, but with a heart full of love, trust and hope for the fulfilment of His promise, that all things are done for the glory of the Father.
Oh sweet Jesus, even though you knew the suffering you would have to undergo, you surrendered completely to the Father’s will and with love that surpasses understanding, died for us, so that we may be redeemed. Help us to have the grace to be humble and die to ourselves, so that through our sufferings we may closely unit with you. While you were being taken down from the cross, it would have been easy for those around you to lose hope, feel abandoned or rejected. As you lay vulnerable in your mother’s arms, it seemed as though their sorrow and grief might have no end. Help us to remember that you are always there for us, even when things don’t seem to go our way, like Mother Mary, help us to cling to you always and never doubt in the love you have for us. We pray for our hearts to burn with love for you, and the desire to be with you now and for all eternity, Amen.
I always used to have a very turbulent relationship with God. When things were going good, I would have no trouble with personal prayer and rejoicing in His love and mercy. But the very moment someone hurt me or something didn’t go my way, I would have ‘no mood’ for prayer and think of the Lord. I would instead turn to other distractions to make me forget the pain. After a while, I realized that running away from the loving arms of the Father during troubled times never helped me but led me further and further away from Christ. After recognizing that even Christ turned to the Father in His agony, and reflecting on the lives of saints, did I understand that it’s in the most difficult times we need to be steadfast in our trust in the Lord. Instead of feeling like God has abandoned me, I remember that He has given me His own mother to care for me and lead me to Him.
- I will meditate on Psalms 139. I will pray for forgiveness for all the times I doubted God’s love for me or felt abandoned by Him.
- Every day, I will try to go out of my way to help someone in need.