Wednesday, January 15, 2014

He Entered Willingly Into His Passion

Fr. John intoned those title words shortly before the Consecration of the mass, and the words struck me like I had never heard them before.  Willingly … and then the host was raised and Jesus offered again His body to the Father’s will.
I’ve been meditating in recent weeks about our tendency to enshrine those things that “we want,” and our difficulty in letting go of these things, in accepting that life doesn’t always go as we want.  We look with envy at others we think are getting “what they want:” the rich, the powerful, and perhaps even sometimes those just smiling.  “See how happy they are,” we think.
But in truth, we do not know.
We know about the Hollywood stars who die of drug overdoses, the politicians who are sex-crazed or bribed or always angry in ways which seem anything but political, and we know of those who are only smiling because they have gas.  We kid ourselves into thinking that those are the exceptions, that most everyone else is happy --- because they’re getting what they want.
And we’re not.
But the words in this message’s title are the words we need to remember, and not just at mass.  “He came that we might have life,” and he showed us how to live it.  In the face of the Father’s plan that He die, NOW, Jesus willingly said yes.  Oh, His humanness gave Him pause: “If it be possible, let this cup pass from me,” but His perfection gave Him resolve: “Nevertheless, not as I will, but as Thou wilt.”
And Jesus showed us the ultimate example of giving up “what I want.”  He showed us how to agree with the Father’s will, even if we perhaps don’t understand it.  Now Jesus didn’t say we are to accept the trials of this life happily --- He wasn’t skipping along singing “Zip idée do dah” as the soldiers marched Him off.  But neither was He constantly saying “Woe is me; woe is me,” or “Why, why, why?”
He willingly accepted His Passion with faith.
Now I think this is a great and important lesson for us here, on how WE are to live our lives.  Looking at the Gospels and what Jesus said and did gives us many lessons, but I think we sometimes skip too quickly by the lessons displayed by the other characters in the Gospel, like the apostles’ reaction to the same Passion scene.  Whoa!  Talk about opposites!
The soldiers are coming?  “Feet don’t fail me now; get me out of here,” the apostles thought.  And while Jesus willingly accepted His Passion and death, the apostles ran from it, hiding in the upper room, quaking in fear, and despairing of their situation.  They didn’t understand God’s will, and so they couldn’t accept it.  They had little faith.
And then Jesus came to them and said: “Peace.”
Two opposite reactions to the same situation.  Which seems most like our reaction in times of great trial?  Must we too understand before we will believe?  Can we learn to imitate the Teacher, Christ, and accept God’s will, even perhaps our death or that of a loved one?  Can we learn to accept that we must willingly forego what “we want?”
“He who loves his life will lose it.”  We thought about those words recently, and understood the word “life” to include “life-style,” the way we live.  All life includes ups and downs, from wherever we are.  Good times will be interrupted by bad, and bad times will be interrupted by periods of joy.  And good days --- to our amazement --- will sometimes get better, and bad days which “can’t get any worse,” sometimes do.
“Not my will, but Thy will be done.”  Faith gets us through all the times of our life, not just helping us to bear the bad times, but to not get too complacent in the good times --- accepting all things as good, even the pains which come into our lives.
I think every home should have that Divine Mercy picture of the Risen Jesus on the wall, with its words: “Jesus, I trust in You” at the bottom.  We need to read those words, daily, to remind ourselves to willingly have faith, to consent to God’s will in our lives.  We need to be able to look at those words and that picture on difficult days.
The apostles had Jesus appear to them and say: “Peace.”  Some days we need a similar image to turn to, to awaken us from our fears.
I try to end each day with a rosary, as part of my night prayers.  I always conclude my rosary meditations with these final words:
My Jesus, I trust in You.
My Jesus, I trust in You.
In all things; in all ways,
And for always,
My Jesus, I trust in You.
And meditating on those words, I find that whatever my situation in life, I am less anxious.


  1. I've been pondering this post, and your last, wanting so much to comment, yet finding my thinking too complex for a short post in a com box.
    But I will say this: as you note several times, WILLINGLY is a key word.
    Isn't this the challenge? Jesus says to Peter, "Get behind Me, Satan! You are a stumbling block to Me; for you are not setting your mind on God's interests, but man's." (Same passage from Matthew you spoke of in your last post.) Willingly doing God's will, even when we know it, seems to be the crux of the matter in becoming a saint. Getting over ourselves, our desire for self determination, I have found, is one of the most difficult challenges of a life of faith. And it's worth noting; the disciples didn't do it, weren't able to do it, until the Pentecost. God Bless. ~ Fran

  2. "Thoughts that are too complex." Aha, thou art meditating on these words, Fran. That's how they came to me, while sitting in the chapel, and that's why I write them down, for me to remember and meditate on some days in the future --- and on the off chance that God might direct someone to read them who needs to, and they feel some of the insights I feel. And it makes my writing worth while.

    I don't write for followers of friends or comments. On some very thoughtful and quiet days, I look into what seems to be on my soul, and I look up the topic here on this blog, and read my related posts. Sometimes I am re-helped with insights I had forgotten, or even if remembered needed to read again. My words aren't Scripture, but sometimes I need to read them again --- even as I read again the underlines in some of the better books I have read. It never hurts to read again that you are loved, and valued. And God has blessed you.