ESPECIALLY during these days of Holy Week, it would be very good if we can pause and meditate more deeply on the passion and death of Christ. To be sure, it will be an exercise that will be most profitable to us. In fact, it is indispensable.
Why? Simply because the passion and death of Christ contains the ultimate reason and the way we can properly handle our current human condition, hounded as it is by weaknesses and temptations and wounded by sin, and convert that condition into our means of salvation.
The big problem we have to overcome with regard to this matter is the ignorance, indifference, if not the total unbelief, many of us have toward the importance, indispensability and relevance of Christ’s passion in our life.
It is in Christ’s passion that we are shown how our attitude and reaction should be when we are made inevitably to suffer in any form. Christ shows us how to suffer and eventually die, and turn these negative things into the gateway to our salvation, to our definitive eternal life with God, from whom we came and to whom we belong.
Let’s remember that we are meant to share the very life of God, since he wants us to be his image and likeness, children of his. We need to level up in our understanding of our human dignity and extricate ourselves from the grip of merely worldly goals, no matter how exciting and profitable they are. We are not meant for merely earthly life. We are simply journeying here toward our definitive home, heaven.
It would be good if we can do certain exercises so that the spirit behind Christ’s passion and death on the cross can inspire us and become also our own. Perhaps, we can do the Via Crucis, spend time before the image of crucified Christ or the ‘Santo Entierro,’ view films and dramatizations of Christ’s passion and death, etc.
We need to understand that accepting all the sufferings in this life the way Christ accepted all the indignities, mockeries and insults and finally death on the cross, is the way to our salvation, not only ours personally, but of all mankind collectively.
It is when we have this spirit when we can truly say that we are effectively identifying ourselves with Christ who is not only the pattern of our humanity but also the savior of our damaged humanity. We are supposed to be ‘alter Christus,’ another Christ.
Our meditations of the passion and death of Christ should result one way or another in our willingness to suffer. Can we say, for example, that we are now more ready to accept all kinds of humiliations and bodily suffering, instead of complaining and wanting to make revenge?
We should come out with some concrete steps and strategies to develop the same attitude and reaction Christ had when he went through his passion and death. Can we say that we are getting more magnanimous, approaching the supreme magnanimity of Christ? Or are we still wallowing in some form of victim complex when we suffer?
To be sure, this willingness to suffer is never a form of foolishness, though in the eyes of the world it may look that way. It is rather a way of making ourselves more and more like Christ, assuming his redemptive mentality and purpose in life.
We need to reassure ourselves regarding this point. To suffer with Christ is the way to our true joy, to our salvation and total fulfilment as man and a child of God. We need to fight the many forms of worldly but false ideals of what true human happiness and perfection is. Sad to say, there are many of them and they have charmed and seduced so many people.
We need to do something about this. And one way is to start by meditating on the passion and death of Christ these days.