Monday, March 18, 2013

They Crucified Him: Station III

This series is not my own work, but all taken from Rev Robert Nash, S.J.'s reflections on the Stations of the Cross: They Crucified Him. I will post one Station a day in these final days before (and concluding on) Good Friday. Here is the Third Station.
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Tradition says that Our blessed Lord fell several times on the road. In the next station, we make reverent commemoration of the first of these falls. It is greeted with shrieks of fiendish delight. Our divine Lord is prodded with a lance and rudely kicked, as He lies flat on the ground. And, while we are waiting for this poor exhausted Man to force Himself to rise again, we let our minds go back to our own first serious fall, back to the day of the sinner’s first mortal sin.

All sin is a species of idolatry, a falling down before impurity or drunkenness or injustice or hatred, and willfully to pay to them the homage due to God alone. Sin is thus the free choice of a soul, and if the soul passes out of this world in that state all God does is to confirm it in the choice it has freely made.
It is the soul itself therefore that condemns itself to eternity in hell, for so great an evil is mortal sin that only in hell can it find the environment proper to it. If, to make an impossible supposition, such a soul were to be admitted to heaven and into the sight of the infinitely holy God, it would endure a more fearful hell than ever. Seeing its own filth and contrasting it with His ineffable purity, the soul would endeavour to crawl away out of this light, even as our first parents, after their sin, hid themselves from the eyes of God. What must be the enormity of sin seeing that the only place fitted for the unrepentant sinner is everlasting fire, in the midst of the screams of despair wrung from those who have not a single atom of hope, who have lost the power to love, whose hearts are continually torn by the thought that this is all their own fault?

The sceptic may sneer at the idea of hell and a hereafter, but the clear teaching of Christ stands against him.

“Fear not them who can destroy the body and after that have no more that they can do, but fear Him rather Who can destroy both body and soul into hell.

“Yea, I say to you, fear ye Him.”
“If your hand or your foot scandalise you, cut it off and cast it from you. It is better for you to go into life maimed or lame, than, having two hands or two feet to be cast into everlasting fire.” If something so dear as a limb or an eye were to be a source of sin, we should not hesitate to take these drastic steps.

Why? Does Our Lord speak thus vigorously merely to strike terror into us? Undoubtedly, that is part of His purpose. But one thinks too that these weighty warnings about hell are dictated by His love. He sees, on the one hand, the soul He loves intensely and purchases at such a price, and on the other He looks into the place of torments lying open there before His eyes. What wonder that His Sacred Heart throbs with anxiety to save, and that even divine eloquence finds difficulty in expressing the horror of the reality?

The sinner’s first fall into mortal sin! His first prostration in adoration before an idol! His first deliberate preference in serious matter of passion and selfish gratification to God! What ever would have happened if there were no forgiveness! If God had taken him at his word! Recall the circumstances — the day it was, the person or persons who were there, the place the crime was perpetrated — that first fall. Doesn’t it make one’s blood almost freeze to think that if death had come then, the sinner was lost now in hell?


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