‘Anyone who wants to be a true Christian…must mortify his flesh for no other reason than devotion to Jesus, who, for love of us, mortified His entire body on the cross.’- St. Padre Pio
When reflecting on the Sorrowful mysteries of the Rosary, I came to an awful realization. Not only do I have a poor imagination and an easily distracted mind, I am ashamed to say that I am desensitized to the Cross. I know of Saints who couldn`t even say Jesus’ name without weeping, yet here I am, numbly mumbling, unmoved by the Sacrifice that saved me. Maybe I`m not alone in this; maybe some like me look at the Cross, but sometimes don`t really see it, and have difficulty mediating on it.
Why might this happen? I have a few theories.
- Horror-fiction. – Honestly, I can`t judge those who watch and enjoy horror films. I have read one too many Twilight books to think I`m above all that. But if you are one of these individuals, consider what it might do internally to one who passively watches a person suffer (even if it is `just a movie`).
- Too much comfort. –I don`t like cold, hunger, or loneliness. Who does? Why would anyone go out of their way to suffer? Well, if we stayed in our comfort zone, not only would we be bored out of our minds, we would also be spiritually obese; unfit to carry our own cross, unprepared to honor Jesus’.
- Pride. What a terrible thought! That I would spit in the face of God. That I would cold heartedly cry out for His murder. That my sins splintered and drove nails through Jesus’ hands. That my bitter thoughts pierced His precious head with thorns. I can`t bear to think of it. So I won`t.
Many Christians love seeing and wearing the Cross, but can`t stand to look at the Crucifix. The Crucifix:
- reminds us that a person (and not just any person) was actually up there, and that He felt everything! As I heard from one Priest, one drop of blood would have sufficed, but Jesus chose to give everything. So, just how much should I give?
- reminds us of our guilt; that we had a hand in His torment.
If I don`t contemplate the horrors of the Crucifixion, how will I show compassion for those on earth who still suffer? If I don`t humbly recognize my need for God`s mercy, how will I ever begin to appreciate the sacrifice of His love? If I remain passive and in my comfort zone, how could I ever ask God to `deliver [me] from evil`? This is in no way meant to judge or accuse anyone. God knows I haven`t so much as chipped a fingernail in my entire life, and am thankful for it. The spiritual life is hard when you think you`re alone. This Lent, I personally resolve to actually watch the Passion of the Christ, without looking away or hardening my heart. Now, feel free to keep me accountable for doing so.
Here is a song/video that that helps me contemplate the Mystery of the Crucifixion.