“Sharing in Christ’s Passion”
In his Passion Jesus was exposed, made public property to the whole of humankind. The last time he went up onto a mountain to pray, it was to pray out loud in a voice that would echo down the ages, ringing in the ears of humankind for ever. It was to be stripped naked before the whole world for ever, not only in body but in mind and soul; to reveal not only the height and the depth and the breadth of his love for us but its intimacy, its sensitivity, its humanity.
All his secrets were out. Every detail of his Passion revealed something more of his character as man -not only his heroism and his majesty but his human necessities, and the human limitations which he deliberately adopted as part of his plan of love in order to be able to indwell us as we are , with our limitations and psychological as well as physical necessities and interdependence on one another. He was not only simulating our humanness outwardly but feeling as we feel; not only feeling his own grief, fear, compassion, need of sympathy, and so on; as man, but ours; not only knowing every nerve and fiber of his own love for us, but that of each one of us for one another.
The Passion of Christ was an experience which included in itself every experience, except sin, of every member of the human race. If one may say this with reverence, the fourteen incidents of the Stations of the Cross show not only the suffering but the psychology of Christ. Above all, they show, in detail, his way of transforming suffering by love. He shows us, step by step, how that plan of love can be carried out by men, women, and children today, both alone in the loneliness of their individual lives and together in communion with one another.
Different though each human being is from every other, uniquely his own though each one’s experience is, there are certain inevitable experiences which are common to all and from which none can escape. One of these is death. Another is love. Every human being alive is on the road to death. Everyone is capable of love for someone , even if it is only for himself, and the price of love, perhaps particularly of self-love, is suffering. But the power of love, and this does not apply to self-love, is to trans- form suffering, to heal its inevitable wounds … Each one meets himself on the Via Crucis , which is the road through death to life. In Christ, each one of us finds the meaning of his own suffering, the power of his own capacity for love.
by Caryll Houselander