Sunday, March 24, 2013

They Crucified Him: Station IX

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 Ninth Station.
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Here in the ninth station Our Lord’s last fall is brought before us for our reverent consideration. His last fall — and mine? What a comfort it would be to the sinner if, kneeling here he could assure himself that never again would he offend God, at least mortally. That, no matter how black the past had been, he was certain that now at least he had begun in earnest, and that the fall into mortal sin which he endured, an hour ago, or a week ago, or a month or a year ago — that that was his last fall. That this day, and this journey with Jesus and Mary, made today in this church, are going to mark a definite break with occasions which in the past have enticed the sinner back into the ways of sin!

The sinner’s last fall! Why not? Doesn’t everyone who ever tasted sin know that it is poison — a poison not without its sweetness for the time being, but no sooner drunk than it leaves in the sinner’s heart a feeling of disgust and self-contempt? And, in spite of the frequency of one’s experience, in spite of the fact that we ought to realise the price which will certainly be exacted afterwards in shame and anguish, none the less the serpent has continued to deceive us, time and time again. He did this with our first parents in paradise; he has done it successfully for thousands of years and with the millions of Adam’s sons and daughters who have lived since.

And you, who are now following Christ and Mary to Calvary? He has deceived you too, has he? Perhaps so, but, please God you have had your last fall. What encouragement you experience as often as you recall that it is impossible to express the love that wells up in the hearts of Jesus and Mary for the poor soul that has fallen and that now fears the force of the bad habits developed! But that love of theirs is not mere sentiment. It is beyond question that a cure is possible, that many who stumbled and fell badly on the way did finally arise and go straight. More than that. Many repentant sinners, having had their last fall, arose to climb to heights of great sanctity. Why?

Because the love of Jesus and Mary for them translated itself into action; immense graces were poured into those sorrowful hearts, and new vigour and new life resulted.

Listen to the grand prayer of the penitent Saint Augustine and make it your own. “Take my heart, O Lord, for I cannot give it to You. Keep my heart, O Lord, for I cannot keep it for You. Send me any cross O Lord, which may keep me subject to Your cross, and save me in spite of myself!” If only I could be sure that the past was all right, and that I would not fall again, then I might take courage and do. But there have been so many false starts, when I thought all was now at last firmly set for the rest of the journey, that I have lost hope! How often cries like these are wrung from the poor sinner’s heart! But who can estimate the consolation given to Christ when, despite that fierce temptation to abandon the struggle and make a truce with the enemy, the sinner arises once more to his feet, and once again takes hold of the cross, resolving to wage unceasing war on that sinful inclination, and, following in Christ’s footsteps, refuses to be beaten and stoutly affirms to himself the truth that that fall was definitely his last one?

It is not only those who have preserved their innocence who give much glory to God, but those too who are broken-hearted with sorrow and resolved to turn away from sin and its occasions. Mary Immaculate followed Jesus to Calvary. But so did Mary Magdalene, the woman who once was a sinner, and who, hearing one day of this wonderful Jesus of Nazareth met Him, knew Him, loved Him, and from that hour counted the date of her last fall.

“The soul,” writes Saint Teresa, “should firmly resolve never to submit to defeat, for if the devil sees someone staunchly determined to lose life and comfort and all that he can offer rather than return (to sin), he will the sooner leave it alone.”


AlRuhl said...

Simply Beautiful! I love your blog!

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