Friday, March 29, 2024

 Paschal Tridium 2024.... Good Friday

Our encounters with The Good Fridays of our existence leads us to a new way of seeing, being and in the end a more authentic presence of The Living God, of Jesus Who became the Christ. I was cogitating on my own journey with the Stations Of The Cross. I was about nine when I started to do the Stations on my own. I went around and looked at the  individual Stations. Those stations from the church in Castletownroche are embedded in my memory. They are the standard by which all other stations are judged. As I have visited a number of churches with different artistic efforts I have come to realize each one has within their depths their own authentic journey with The Condemned One. Our lives are living stations of the cross, each moment is presented as our encounter with some moment of the journey of The Historical Jesus. This moment to moment encounter  is a sacramental moment, as with all sacraments life, and its living provides us with a walking tableau, for our visitation, reflection and spiritual renewal. 

                  The Historical Jesus of those early years sure has changed. He is now, the example, of sacrifice and pain as well as, the source, of encouragement for those who follow the challenging truths of The Gospels. I am now aware of the pain that came from His betrayal, scourging at the pillar, the mocking and dehumanizing moments He choose to endure. Choosing to be faith-full to the call of The Suffering Servant He walked the walk of His truth. We sometimes, like right now, talk the talk, but as regards walking the walk that will be a choice we make, under grace. As it is grace filled, whatever we have to face in being true to The Truth we will be provided with all necessary courage, and spirit of perseverance. From my encounters with my given Stations of The Cross two people have become a part of my living stations. Those two are, Simon of Cyrene and Veronica. I hope this will lead to your own personal reflections, that lead to  the reassurance to continue our  existential encounter with, our personal Via Dolorosa. Simon had NO CHOICE to carry the crossbeam, that was going to be used in The Crucifixion of The Just One. He was having a good day reflecting on his visit to his farm. Then within moments his life was changed, forever. He had to walk behind The Intended Victim all the ways to Calvary. Even though Simon helped Jesus fell two more times, on the way, to make it three falls in all. We on our journey fall, again and again. The important thing is to make the effort to get up. Sometimes are efforts are not enough then we are open to the help of Simon, and the ministering of Veronica. Many times it is the same person who is, depending on the occasion, Simon and Veronica for us.

 Here is what happened on a recent hike. I now have spinal stenosis in two places. (My back is not doing good.) I was was tired and my back needed a rest. So I sat down on this large stone and rested. When I was ready to get up, my legs would not cooperate. I tried different approaches to getting up. They did not work. I made some movement and I ended flat on my back, unable to move. Not looking good, would be a great way to sum up the situation. So I had to lie on my back, unable to move. I now hike/walk where there is traffic. So after lying there for a few minutes, a mountain biker came along. He heard my cry for, "Help", and responded quickly. He became my Simon, and after I was somewhat erect, he showed the concern of Veronica for the " suffering Christ". Right there slightly off the trail I experienced the physical help of a contemporary Simon. This Simon was a real human being and show real care and concern for this octogenarian. His "Veronica" broke through and I sure began to feel rescued and safe. Thank The Gracious  Giver of all that is good,I continued on for another 25 minutes.

                      For us, we fall many many times under the weight of our cross,  our wounded and broken humanity. A cross we are, to take up EACH DAY, and follow in the footsteps  Jesus,The Christ.  Where He had gone, we are to follow. It is essential then that we connect with the Simon and Veronica that are making their dwelling within our depths. We must minister to The Suffering One within, otherwise we are not going to be the best Simon and Veronica for others. "A healthy love of God, and a healthy love of another person begins with a healthy love of self".You cannot give what you have not got. My favorite penance to those beautiful,smiling, vivacious, smiling, but so  resent-full, young mothers was  take 20 minutes for themselves to chill and do nothing. Then my penance evolved to a hot bath, candles, music, and glass of wine provided there was no alcoholics in the family. It does not matter how close they were or are. Alcoholism, is alcoholism and that gene must be respected of all hell breaks loose. Now is/was that penance performed, in most cases NO, these "Simons" were not prepared to be the ministering presence of Veronica to themselves. I was not going to offer that, self neglect, needed to be part of their examination of conscience. They are/were carrying enough of "the cross', and there was no need to pile on.

      Oh ! Oh ! O ! I, the above reminds me that I have forgotten to reflect on, The Scourging at The Pillar. ( Here I am going to take a break, and will be back ..... )


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