The Sorrowful Mysteries conclude with the Crucifixion, an amazing act of love. It’s common to hear people speak of Jesus the good teacher, who was so tragically put to death because the world wasn’t ready for his message of love; and this is, in a word, nonsense. At no time was Jesus in the power of the authorities, whatever they might have thought about the matter, for according to Jesus more than “twelve legions of angels” stood ready to do His bidding. Jesus chose to do His Father’s will, chose it freely all through the dread of that long night in Gethsemane, through the flogging and mocking and thorns and the long trial of the Via Dolorosa. He went willingly to the Cross, there to lay down His life for his friends.
And then, once on the Cross, He continued to think more of others than of Himself. When I am in great pain or illness, I turn inwards: the boundaries of my attention shrink inward to my skin, and I have no time or attention for anyone else. Jesus, fighting a slow battle against suffocation while hanging from iron spikes driven through His wrists, pushing up against the spikes in His feet for every breath, nevertheless found it Him to speak words of love and grace. To St. Dismas, the Good Thief crucified by His side, He promised the blessings of Paradise. To all who agreed to His crucifixion, He offered His forgiveness: “Forgive them, Father, for they know not what they do.”
This shocking love is not a warm fuzzy feeling. It is an all encompassing act of the will, an indomitable choice to pursue the good of others regardless of personal cost.
And this is the love and the Cross to which we are all called.
And as I write this on Father’s Day, I give thanks for all of the mothers and fathers I’ve known who live this reality day by day for their families.
Copyright 2015 Will Duquette, OP.
Art by Txematoledo (Own work) [Public domain], via Wikimedia Commons