If you are in any way familiar with the suffering, death and resurrection of Jesus, like we are, you know how easy it can be to walk through this Holy season on spiritual auto-pilot. As someone we know has said, ” What else can we possibly say about the most profound event in history that hasn’t already been said a million times?”
Perhaps, one way to make The Passion of Christ come alive again in our hearts might be to see it through our own suffering, our own wounds and our own little deaths.
To encourage some fresh seeing for our own lives we’ve gathered ten quotations that provoke us toward a more conscious Good Friday and Easter. In addition to scripture, over the next few weeks, we plan to read these quotes, first, all at once, then slowly in meditation.
Here are 3 simple ways you can join us:
1) Choose one quote a day to sit with then simply journal about what you hear for yourself
2) Listen for a word or phrase that stands out and then pray over its application in your life right now.
3) Write out several ways a recent trial, suffering or “little death”in your life connects you in some way to the trials, sufferings and death of Jesus.
I hope you use these suggestions or some other meaningful way to bring this Easter season more spiritually alive in your life.
1) “Just as Jesus was identified by his wounds, so are we. This mystery is hard to grasp , but it is of the greatest importance in helping to deal with our own brokenness. When I feel lonely, forgotten, rejected, or despised, I can easily be tempted to respond to these painful experiences with anger, resentment, and a desire for revenge.
But if I am willing to claim my woundedness as my unique way to the resurrection, then I may start caring for my wounds, knowing that they will identify me in my eternal life in God.
Caring for my wounds means acknowledging them as revelations of my unique way of being human, listening to them as teachers who help me find my own way to holiness, sharing them as a source of consolation and comfort, and allowing others to pour oil on them and bind them in times of great pain.
Thus I proclaim my wounds are not causes for embarrassment, but the source of joyful acknowledgement of my unique vocation to journey with Jesus through suffering to the glory of God.”
From: Seeds of Hope
2) “What was the life of Christ but a perpetual humiliation?”
Vincent De Paul
3)” When we have hit bottom and are emptied of all we thought important to us, then we truly pray, truly become humble and detached, and live in the bright darkness of faith. In the midst of the emptying, we know that God has not deserted us.
Actually, we are closer to God than ever before, although we are deprived of the consolations that we once associated with our spirituality. What we thought was communion with him was really a hindrance to that communion….
The cross is both the symbol of our salvation and the pattern of our lives. Everything that happened to Christ in some way happens to us. When darkness envelops us and we are deaf to everything except the shriek of our own pain, it helps to know that the Father is tracing in us the image of his Son, that the signature of Jesus is being stamped on our souls. For Jesus, the darkness of night gave way to the light of morning.
From: The Signature of Jesus
4) “…for it is in giving that we receive; it is in pardoning that we are pardoned; and it is in dying that we are born to eternal life.”
Francis of Assisi
5) “Jesus said not: thou shalt not be troubled, thou shalt not be tempted, thou shalt not be distressed. But he said: thou shalt not be overcome.”
Julian of Norwich
6) “God is to be found in all things, even and most especially in the painful, tragic, and sinful things, exactly where we do not want to look for God. The crucifixion of the God-Man is at the same moment the worst thing in human history and the best thing in human history.
Human existence is neither perfectly consistent ( as rational and controlling needy people usually demand it be), nor is it incoherent chaos ( what cynics, agnostics and unaware people expect it to be); instead, human life has a cruciform pattern. It is a “coincidence of opposites” ( St. Bonaventure), a collision of cross-purposes; we are all filled with contradictions needing to be reconciled.
The price we pay for holding together these opposites is always some form of crucifixion.
Jesus himself was crucified between a good thief and bad thief, hanging between heaven and earth, holding onto his humanity and his divinity…True life comes only through journeys of death and rebirth wherein we learn who God is for us. Letting go is the nature of all true spiritually and transformation, summed up in the mythic phrase: ‘Christ is dying. Christ is risen. Christ will ever come again.'”
From: Everything Belongs
7) “The gospel is part tragedy, part comedy, part fairy tale. The tragedy is that we all in some way have Christ’s blood on our hands. The comedy is that he loves us anyway and forgives us in all ways. The fairy tale is that there is a happily-ever-after ending not only to his story but to ours.”
8) “Some forms of frustration and emotional suffering -like those we experience as a result of our need to control and manipulate situations we find ourselves in are the price we pay to keep the ego alive and thriving. But other forms of suffering, like the trials and tribulations of the “dark night,” when we feel as if God has abandoned us confront the agenda of the ego head-on, unmask its illusions and attempt to purify us of its lies.
When we surrender to a test or trial in the fidelity of God, we are renouncing the ego’s agenda. We are choosing to accept, validate and live in the present moment and to allow it to unfold in its own way.
In his gracious surrender to the way of the cross, in his deliberate acceptance of the Via Dolorosa (the Way of Suffering,) in the act of self-abandonment to Abba, Jesus showed us how to turn pain into praise and suffering into the song of salvation…Surrender with trust, to use Mother Teresa of Calcutta’s words, “to love the darkness,” is the only response that robs any test of its power to destroy us.”
Albert Haase, O.F.M.
From: Living The Lord’s Prayer- The Way of the Disciple
9) ” Mourn, my people mourn. Let your pain rise up in your heart and burst forth with sobs and cries. Mourn for the silence that exists between you and your spouse. Mourn the way you were robbed of your innocence. Mourn for the bitterness of your children, the indifference of your friends, and your colleagues’ hardness of heart…cry for freedom, for salvation, for redemption.
Cry loudly and deeply, and trust that your tears will make your eyes see that the Kingdom is close at hand, yes, at your fingertips!”
10) “O God, our Father, we know that the issues of life and death are in your hands, and we know that you are loving us with everlasting love…And if misfortune does come to us, grant that any trial may only bring us closer to one another and closer to you; grant that nothing may shake our certainty that you work all things together for good and that a Father’s hand will never cause his child a needless tear. Hear this our prayer; through Jesus Christ our Lord. Amen.”
From: Prayers for the Christian Year
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