Monday, March 25, 2013

They Crucified HIm: Station X

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 Tenth Station.
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The stripping of Our Lord is symbolical of the completeness of His giving. “He emptied Himself,” writes Saint Paul, “taking the form of a servant.” (Philippians 2:7) And the prophet, speaking in His name asks: “What is there that I ought to do more to My vineyard that I have not done to it?” (Isaiah 5:4) We ourselves have the phrase, when we want to express our readiness to go to any lengths to help a person, that we are prepared “to take the coat off our back.” We shall better understand that Jesus left nothing undone if we recall Who He was.

He was God, first of all, but in this Sacred Passion who could possibly recognise Him as such? All the way through the Divinity hides Itself. At any given moment, He might have exercised His divine power to end the tortures His enemies were inflicting upon Him. We know how eagerly we welcome relief in pain — an aspirin when we have a bad headache, a refreshing drink to assuage our thirst on a burning hot day. What love is implied in the sentence of the apostle that Our Lord “delivered Himself up!” (Ephesians 5:25) He handed Himself over to them to torture Him, and He kept His divine power steadily in check when He might have used it to paralyse the hand that smote Him or drove the nails into His sacred body. “He was offered because it was His own will.” (Isaiah 53:7) He began to suffer when He willed and He continued willing to suffer all that we are contemplating as we follow Him. He need not have begun to suffer, and His enemies continued to have power to make Him suffer simply because all the way through He refused to stop them.

Jesus was God. He was man too, and how are we going to make even the barest summary of the completeness of His giving as man? The strength of His body is reduced to utter prostration. Its beauty — and He had been “beautiful above the sons of men” (Psalm 45:2 or Psalm 44:3 in the Vulgate) — is so marred that the prophet describes Him as “a worm and no man,” (Psalm 22:6 or Psalm 21:7 in the Vulgate,) a “leper,” (Isaiah 53:4) a man from the crown of Whose head to the sole of His feet is one mass of wounds and blood. As man, He possessed a human soul, all the powers of which were placed unreservedly at the disposal of those He loved. His mind was continually occupied thinking out ways and means to help them. His will bent all its energies in one direction — to labour for them, to pray for them, to heal them, to die for them. Over and above all this, on the night previous, He gave them Himself in the Blessed Eucharist and presently on the cross, He will give them His Mother.

It is most literally true that He has nothing left. “What is there that I ought to do more to My vineyard that I have not done to it?” A Lover Who is omnipotent has been lavish of His power to do. A mind that is divine seems to challenge us to excogitate anything still left, in order that, if we succeed, He may do it for our sakes. A heart that is throbbing with infinite love has given superabundantly. So in this tenth station He lets them take the coat off His back to indicate that omnipotence and infinite love have conspired together to ensure the completeness of the measure of the giving of Christ. If the sinner does not now understand that Our Lord is ready to forgive and to restore him, what more can omnipotence and infinite love do to convince him?


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