The Key to the Passion of Christ
When I pray the Rosary, I typically seek to experience the Mysteries upon which I meditate in a manner that engages both my intellect, to understand the Truth, and my imagination, to experience the reality of the Mystery.
Sometimes, this approach is a bit frustrating, particularly if I am tired or not able to focus. I have recently found, after adjusting my approach to making time for the Rosary, with much greater success, that the stability and frequency of this prayer greatly aids the reception of grace.
It seems to me, thus, that Our Lady rewards us for our constancy with the Rosary. It is much more than being simply the fruit of a natural habit, a virtue, by which this meditation naturally becomes more efficient. Truly, as I have recently experienced, Our Lady obtains new lights from Heaven for those who daily set aside this time to spend with her and her Son.
Let that encourage you. You have probably heard this before. By experience, I see it to be a reality.
Understanding the Passion of Christ
The other day, when meditating on the Sorrowful Mysteries, which have long been my favorite, I was seeking to understand why Our Lord's sufferings saved us. What was it about the pain and agony that produced the effect of our salvation, our healing, and our glorification?
Many answers swirled in my head but, as I mentioned above, my desire was to both understand the Truth and experience the reality. As a result, I did not simply want the theology about the answer, which I knew well; I wanted to behold the Truth Himself, and thus understand the answer.
It was while I was pondering the "forgotten Mystery," or so I was deeming it, of the condemnation and rejection of Christ by the Jewish authorities, immediately following Our Lord's arrest in the Garden, that I began to understand the key to Our Lord's Passion.
I am not sure if it was something about my meditation on this abuse and ridicule and mocking and rejection that He experienced which opened me up to this understanding, but it was clearly a grace merited for me by Our Lady's intercession.
What came to my mind in that moment was a powerful teaching by Pope Ven. Pius XII, from Mystici Corporis Christi, his great encyclical on the Mystical Body of Christ. This is a must read for all Catholics today.
This teaching then fixed itself upon my intellect as I began to meditate on the Scourging at the Pillar. I thought, as I tried to see the marks from the whips as they began to appear on Our Lord's Body, "What was Our Lord thinking as the lashes were striking Him?"
It was then that I recalled the words of Pius XII:
"But the knowledge and love of our Divine Redeemer, of which we were the object from the first moment of His Incarnation, exceed all that the human intellect can hope to grasp. For hardly was He conceived in the womb of the Mother of God, when He began to enjoy the Beatific Vision, and in that vision all the members of His Mystical Body were continually and unceasingly present to Him, and He embraced them with His redeeming love."
When Our Lord was expecting each and every lashing, He had in His mind one thing, one driving zeal: the salvation of each and every individual member of His Church. As He foresaw each lashing, each "Crucify Him!", each thorn from the Crown, each blow from a soldier, the weight of the Cross on His back and shoulder, and the piercings of His Sacred Flesh on the Cross - He had in His mind each and every single one of us, and our good and benefit.
This drove Him to continue, to embrace the condemnation, to embrace the pain and humiliation, and to embrace the death that was handed to Him.
So, for me, what this did was move the theology into an experience, for I saw that this mission of Our Lord then animated every step He took, every glance and expression on His face, every manifestation of patience and humble acceptance of His sacrifice.
The Key to Everything
Truly, this vision in Our Lord's mind, which was present from the first moment of His Incarnation, animated everything He did, from the moment He descended from Heaven, to His first manifestation to the nations, to His appearance as a boy in the Temple, to His humility in the home at Nazareth, and to His untiring mission to seek and save the lost.
Let us take great consolation from the fact that Our Lord's mind has been singularly and unceasingly set on our redemption since the first instance of His Incarnation, and has never, in the slightest, wavered from fixing itself on us as the sole object of His Divine Love.
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