Thoughts on the Patient Endurance of Sorrows and Sufferings
THE SUFFERINGS OF CHRIST
No aspect of our blessed Lord's life is made so much of by the saints as His sufferings; and at the same time nothing is so neglected, or indeed contemned, by unbelievers and by wordly Christians. "All the Saints," says St. Alphonsus, "cherished a tender devotion toward Jesus Christ in His passion; this is the only means by which they sanctified themselves."
"He who desires," says St. Bonaventure, "to go on advancing from virtue to virtue, from grace to grace, should meditate continually on the passion of Jesus."
"The first cause of the passion," says St. Thomas Aquinas, "was that He wished it to be known how much God loved man."
"Quaesivit nos infirmitate sua," says St. Augustine - "He would win us by His weakness."
Thus, meditation on the passion has been the grand occupation of all holy souls. We cannot make too much of the stupendous fact that Christ suffered - and suffered all His life - in every variety of pain and anguish beyond what it was possible for mere mortal men to suffer. Suffering in this exercise of her divine and austere mission, was waiting for Him when He set His foot upon the earth. She stood beside the crib at Bethlehem, and accompanied Him in the wanderings of His infancy. She dwelt within the walls of the holy house, cherished by Jesus, Mary, and Joseph.
When He went forth upon His Father's business, she trod the ways of Judea and Galilee by His side and led Him by the hand to toil, to contempt, to ingratitude, to cold, and hunger, and watching. She caused Him to feel the sorrows of His Mother. She let Him taste the bitterness of being disowned by the high and by the lowly, rejected by His own people, distrusted by the little children. She wrung from Him in the garden, that cry of anguish prophesied long before: "Save me, O God, for the waters have broken in even upon my soul!" (Ps. lxviii. 1).
She beckoned Him to the pretorium, and to the mockery and horror of the crowning with thorns. She laid the cross upon His bleeding shoulders, and went before Him on the road to Calvary. Then she stood still on the mountain of myrrh and the hill of frankincense, where bitterness was to be supreme and sacrifice was to go up to the heavens; she stood still, and pointed to the cross and the nails; and He said: "Behold, I come!"
And when the cross had been lifted up, suffering, for yet three hours, lingered in the silence of the darkness; for yet three hours - and then her mission was at an end; and, as when a dark cloud breaks and the rains stream upon the earth, suffering, since that day, has fallen on men and women in every age and over all the world, and every drop has been full of the fragrance of the cross...[continued tomorrow]
Compiled and Edited by Rev. F. X. Lasance
Author of "My Prayerbook," etc.
1937, Benziger Brothers
Printers to the Holy Apostolic See