Wednesday, April 04, 2012

Via Crucis XI: Terrible Grace

Jesus is crucified. Can I beg for the terrible grace to see the hammer I hold ready in my hands? Can I bear the awful knowledge that what is poured out here, washes me clean?

Clarity can be a terrible grace. To see ourselves as we are, to appreciate the wonder of our being, and the ravages wreaked by sin, both can be difficult graces to seek. Walter Wangerin writes evocatively of the dangerous and difficult mirror the Passion holds up for us. There is the obvious sense in which we see in the Passion how the damage sin has wrought spreads out to encompass even the most innocent. Sin and death intertwined, cruelly and bluntly staked out for all to see on a hill in Jerusalem.

If we can scrape off the grime that clouds our eyes when we look at Jesus' death, we might comprehend that the best of ourselves also hangs before us. Frightened, seemingly abandoned by the Father, taunted, Jesus — fully God — could have at any point declared an end to the proceedings. Walked off the cross in a blaze of glory, in a miracle that might have brought all of Jerusalem to its knees. Instead, fully human, he showed us what we could be, what we could endure, and why. That in powerlessness lies our ultimate strength.

Can I endure the knowledge, not only that I have sinned, but that I am so cherished, so wondrously made, that God-made-man would walk into the torrents of the passion as a man, endure such a death as one of us, so that I might be fully alive? So that each of us might live?

Meditation is from the feature published in the March issue of the Catholic Standard & Times. Follow the meditations under the tab above: Via Crucis: Meditation on the Passion.

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