Last night on Good Friday we rewatched The Passion of the Christ. I have seen it before, several times when it first came out and then I'd revisit it on Good Fridays of years past. The last few years, though, I would think about it and then talk myself right out of it.
It's too much this year.
My heart can't handle it.
I've got a lot going on already.
Jesus doesn't *need* me to watch it.
I'll do something else quasi-penitential instead.
Some of which isn't necessarily wrong, of course, but they were all excuses. Ways for me to escape the visual and palpable reality of the cross. But last night we watched it. And I realized I really had forgotten.
I forgot how much it cost.
I forgot the reality of the blood. I forgot the metal of the nails and the holes made in real flesh. I forgot the agony of the stripes and the torture that didn't relent until everything was accomplished and every sin paid for. I forgot his choice - a choice! - to endure the most agonizing of deaths. For us. For me. I forgot the deep soul-piercing awareness that my little tiny sufferings could be offered to Him and play a part in it all. I forgot the suffering of His mother and as I watched I got the taste of her torture, too. I forgot her part in it all. I forgot the sweat, the flesh, the thorns, the utter brutality, the spear, the noise, the dirt, the wood.
I forgot the reality of the cross.
I forgot the extent of His love.
Jesus, forgive me.
The little crosses I have are as nothing compared with His and yet they are worth something because of His. I can place myself again at the foot of the cross and quench His thirst with my pitiful attempts at love and comfort the heart that was pierced and broken for me. I can be there with Him. I can enter into the tomb and wrap my arms around His beaten body and weep for what He chose to endure. I can choose to be there, to see, really see, what He did. I can enter into it now again and let my heart be broken again with His. I can love Him back, however weak and little I am.
I believe that the more we enter into His Passion, the greater our ability to experience the joy of the Resurrection. The brightness of the sun is all the more glorious when we experience the darkest of nights. I believe the joy of His mother, and the Marys, and John was all the more amazing at the Resurrection because they stayed there with Him and saw it all. They loved Him through the ugliness and chose not to look away, despite how much their stomachs may have turned and their souls may have cried out for it to stop. They let their hearts break with His. May my heart have the grace to always choose the same.
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