Blessings on this great Passionist Solemnity!
Each year on the Friday before Ash Wednesday Passionists throughout the world celebrate this titular feast of the Congregation given us by St. Paul of the Cross. It is a joyful celebration of the mystery of Good Friday, focusing on the Passion of Christ as “the most overwhelming sign of God’s love.” (St. Paul of the Cross)
The above display of the Instruments of the Passion created many years ago by Sr. Marie Michael and displayed each year in our chapel on this grand feast. Notice the Relic of the True Cross in the crucifix mounted in the upright cross.
In honor of this great feast of Divine Charity I want to share with you a reflection of Pope Benedict XVI given February 8, 2012. During his Wednesday audiences Pope Benedict has been reflecting on the Passion of Jesus.
Today I want to reflect with you on the cry of Jesus from the Cross, “My God, my God, why have you forsaken me?” This cry comes after a three-hour period when there was darkness over the whole land.
Darkness is an ambivalent symbol in the Bible – while it is frequently a sign of the power of evil, it can also serve to express a mysterious divine presence. Just as Moses was covered in the dark cloud when God appeared to him on the mountain, so Jesus on Calvary is wrapped in darkness. Even though the Father appears to be absent, in a mysterious way his loving gaze is focused upon the Son’s loving sacrifice on the Cross.
It is important to realize that Jesus’ cry of anguish is not an expression of despair: on the contrary, this opening verse of Psalm twenty-two conveys the entire content of the psalm, it expresses the confidence of the people of Israel that despite all the adversity they are experiencing, God remains present among them, he hears and answers his people’s cry.
This prayer of the dying Jesus teaches us to pray with confidence for all our brothers and sisters who are suffering, that they too may know the love of God who never abandons them.
He has loved us so generously! How can we ever doubt his love? Let’s be apostles of His love and help others come to know him in his greatest act of charity.