Today’s reflection is on the fifth sorrowful mystery: the crucifixion. The first four sorrowful mysteries are the agony in the garden, the scourging at the pillar, the crowning with thorns, and the carrying of the cross. Three of those posts were written in one sitting and simply flowed out. This mystery, Christ’s crucifixion, has been hanging over my head for weeks now. I sit down to write about it and find myself so unworthy to even think about putting words to His crucifixion, and the post never gets written. After all, what could I say about His great sacrifice? What words would do Him justice? Why even bother?
As I finally sit down to write this post hundreds of thousands of people are marching for life in Washington D.C. and all over the country (yes, I pre-write blogs). Somehow today seems fitting to ponder the mystery of Christ’s crucifixion. May He be pleased with my feeble attempt to bring His sacrifice glory.
I can’t gaze at you upon the cross. I can’t even look at you upon the cross. I can only stare, in wonder and amazement, and in horror. How could something so tragic, so painful, so shameful happen to the man I love? What is even more shocking is that this didn’t have to be. All the power in the universe was in you. You didn’t have to pray that the cup would pass, you could have simply thrown the gauntlet down and been done with it. You didn’t have to stand for the beatings or the spitting or the mocking or the crown of thorns. Yet you, my dear, sweet love, took it all. I can’t help but wonder why. What on earth possessed you to bear all of the pain and suffering? At that moment I realize that nothing on earth possessed you. What did possess you was a divine love, a love so deep, so profound, that it is beyond this world. Consumed with love you willingly suffered. For me. For us all.
But why? Couldn’t you just have pricked your finger and called the blood shed good enough? Why did it have to be so…so painful? So gruesome? Why did you have to enter our mess, our shame, our humiliation?
“To save you from it, my dear child. To show you that there is life beyond the mess. To invite you to more, to joy, to happiness, to love, and to eternal life.”
Like a little child I want to keep asking why, though at some point I realize I’ll never fully understand it, at least not on this side of Heaven. So, I’m back to where I’ve begun. I’m staring at the countless depictions of you hanging on the cross. Suffering for me. Dying for me. Dying to know me, to love me, to be in relationship with me. Dying to call me to yourself and, one day, to bring me Home with you. You hung your head in death to invite us all to eternal life. You bore the weight of the cross and the shame of such a death to remind us of a truth we can so easily forget: that there are no lengths you won’t go to in order to show us that we are, despite our fears and failures, worthy of Agape.