Prediction of the Passion
Presence of God – O Jesus, give me light to understand the mystery and the value of Christian suffering.
… The prediction is clear: “The Son of Man … shall be delivered to the Gentiles, and shall be mocked and scourged and spit upon, and after they have scourged Him, they will put Him to death; and the third day He shall rise again.” However, as on other occasions, the Apostles “understood none of these things, and this word was hid from them.” They did not understand because they imagined that Jesus’ mission was like an earthly conqueror’s and that He would re-establish the kingdom of Israel. Since they dreamed only of triumphs and of occupying the first places in the kingdom, any allusion to the Passion upset and scandalized them.
To those who dream only of prosperity and earthly glory, the language of the Cross is incomprehensible. Those who have a purely material ideal of life find it very difficult to understand any spiritual significance, and especially that of suffering. St. Paul said that Christ Crucified was “unto the Jews indeed a stumbling block, and unto the Gentiles foolishness” (1 Corinthians 1:23). Rebuking St. Peter, who at the first mention of the Passion had exclaimed, “Lord, be it far from Thee, this shall not be unto Thee,” Jesus had said, “Go behind Me, Satan … because thou savorest not the things that are of God, but the things that are of men” (Matthew 16:22-23). To human wisdom, suffering is incomprehensible; it is disconcerting; it can lead one to murmur against divine Providence and even to lose all trust in God. However, according to the wisdom of God, suffering is a means of salvation and redemption. And as it was necessary “for Christ to have suffered these things, and so to enter into His glory” (cf. Luke 24:26), it is also necessary for the Christian to be refined in the crucible of sorrow in order to attain to sanctity, to eternal life.
“O Jesus Christ, Son of the eternal Father, our Lord, true King of all things! What didst Thou leave in the world for Thy descendants to inherit from Thee? What didst Thou ever have, my Lord, save trials, pains, and insults? Indeed Thou hadst only a beam of wood to rest upon while drinking the bitter draught of death. Those of us, then, my God, who desire to be Thy true children and not to renounce their inheritance, must never flee from suffering. Thy crest is five wounds!… So that too must be our device if we would inherit His kingdom! Not by ease, nor by comfort, nor by honor, nor by wealth can we gain that which He purchased for us by so much Blood. O you who come of illustrious lineage, for the love of God open your eyes. Behold those true knights of Jesus Christ, the princes of His Church, St. Peter and St. Paul: never did they travel by the road you are taking. Can you be imagining that a new road is to be built for you? Do not think that for a moment” (Teresa of Jesus Foundations 10).
O my Jesus, the Cross is Your standard; I should be ashamed to ask to be delivered from it. From one evil only I ardently beg You to preserve me: from any deliberate sin, however slight. O Lord, I beg You by the merits of Your sacred Passion to keep all sin far from me. But as for other evils—bodily or spiritual sufferings, physical pain or mental anguish—I beg Your light and strength: light to understand the hidden meaning which they have in the plans of Your divine Providence, light to believe firmly that every sorrow or trial, every pain or disappointment, is planned by You for my greater good; strength not to let myself be influenced by the false maxims of the world or led astray by the vain mirage of earthly happiness, strength to accept suffering of any kind with courage and love.
Note from Dan: This post on the prediction of the Passion is provided courtesy of Baronius Press and contains one of two meditations for the day. If you would like to get the full meditation from one of the best daily meditation works ever compiled, you can learn more here: Divine Intimacy. Please honor those who support us by purchasing and promoting their products.
Art for this post on the prediction of the Passion: Get Thee Behind Me, Satan, James Tissot, between 1886 to 1894, PD-US author’s term of life plus 100 years or less, Wikimedia Commons. Father Gabriel of St. Mary Magdalen, mirror from open source material.