Sunday, March 16, 2014

Hobby Lobby - A Novena to St. Joseph the Worker starts March 17, 2014


On March 25, 2014, the U.S. Supreme Court will hear Sebelius v. Hobby Lobby Stores Inc., a case arising out of the commitment of Hobby Lobby owners David and Barbara Green and their family to live out their deeply held religious convictions by "operating their company in a manner consistent with biblical principles." 

Please pray for religious freedom!  This case, according to the National Catholic Register, is closely watched as it "could affect 46 other legal challenges to the mandate filed by for-profit organizations." 2




Saint Joseph, the foster father of Jesus, was a carpenter by trade, and thus he has always been regarded as the patron of workers. 1

A novena is a prayer to be said over nine days.  We ask St Joseph to pray for our intentions, as he, being a saint in Heaven, can carry our prayers and present them to God on our behalf. 

The Supreme Court is scheduled to hear oral arguments on March 25th, 2014;  nine days from  the Feast of St. Patrick. 

May we pray for the Green Family, for continued strength, as well as the Becket Fund, who is representing Hobby Lobby, along with EWTN, in their legal challenges to the HHS mandate.  Pray for truth, justice, and God's will to prevail.

Novena to St. Joseph the Worker

O God, the Creator of all things, You have laid the law of labor upon the human race. Grant, we beseech You, that by the example and protection of St. Joseph we may perform the work You command and attain to the reward that You promise. Through our Lord Jesus Christ. Amen.

Sources
1 - About.com - Scott P. Richert
2 - National Catholic Register - Joan Frawley Desmond



Friday, February 28, 2014

Top 10 Reasons to Sacrifice - Intentionally

 

If you’re stopping by as part of the Proverbs 31 Made to Crave Bible Study, Thank you for stopping by!  For a more detailed post on true sacrifice, visit this post.
 
Why Sacrifice
When considering intentional sacrifice, one might ponder, 'Why in the world would anybody ever, ever, deprive themselves of anything that could make their life easier, more enjoyable, and possibly delight their senses?  Further to that point, what if doing so causes some discomfort or worse yet, pain?

There is but one reason to sacrifice, making discomfort truly worthwhile.  Love. 

You retort, "But I love a warm fuzzy blanket, a hot shower, a second helping of my favorite entrĂ©e, a hot and creamy vanilla latte with a dollop of whipped cream,  the last piece of chocolate cake, or a luxurious turtle cheesecake."   

That, my friend is not love.  But I understand. 

Sacrifice is Love
Love begins with Jesus, and when it comes to sacrifice, He simply cannot be out done.

According to Miriam Webster, sacrifice is, "The act of giving up something that you want to keep, especially in order to get or do something else or to help someone."

Let's break that down:
  • What was the something that Jesus gave up?  His life, among other things.
  • Why did He do this?  “That through death he might destroy the one who has the power of death, that is, the devil, and free those who…had been subject to slavery” (Heb 2:14-15).
  • Who did He want to Help?  You and me.
Jesus did just that, and it is true that we, as Christians, are His disciples.  We are called to live, love and serve as Jesus served. 

In John 15:12 we read “This is my commandment, that you love one another as I have loved you." 
Yes, we are to love as Jesus loved.  How did Jesus ultimately show us His love?   He, being sinless and blameless, took our sins upon Himself and made himself the expiation for our sins.  He sacrificed His life, that we may live.

I know Jesus' sacrifice is a stark contrast to the type of sacrifice we often consider, but for me, sometimes saying 'no' to that vanilla latte or hand full of peanut m&m's is heroic!

St. Paul teaches that we are not to be strangers of sacrifice, "Therefore I urge you, brethren, by the mercies of God, to present your bodies a living and holy sacrifice, acceptable to God, which is your spiritual service of worship." (Romans 12:1)

Sacrifice and the Battle
We are made up of both flesh and spirit.  Our spirit is always leading us to the things good, true, and beautiful; that will draw us closer to God.  Unfortunately, our flesh, our humanity, is drawn toward the things of this world -  the things that appeal to our senses, our flesh.  These things lead us away from God.  These temptations of the flesh, though unseen, but very sensed, make sacrifice seem like a steep and daunting precipice.      

St. Louis de Montfort teaches
"The Holy Spirit tells us that Wisdom is not found in the hearts of those who live in comfort, gratifying their passions and bodily desires, because 'they who are of the flesh cannot please God' and 'the wisdom of the flesh is an enemy to God.'  'My Spirit will not remain in man, because he is flesh...  If we are to possess incarnate Wisdom, Jesus Christ, we must practice self-denial and renounce the world and self." 

By making sacrifices, for love of Lord, we can temper our desires for the things of this world.  These sacrifices strengthen our spiritual muscles, thereby weakening the efficacy of the wiles of the evil one (who is and has been relentlessly pursuing us through temptation and studying our weaknesses since the day we were born - totally unfair, I digress...)   

Sacrifice as a Prayer
Sacrifice, in and of itself can be fruitless, but if done for love of Lord, can be a powerful prayer!   It is not what we do, but how and why we do them, that make them great.  If we do all things for love of God, they will be great; for the Kingdom, for our families, for us, for all whom are affected by our actions.   

It is one thing to deny yourself that hand-full of m&m's, and altogether another to offer that small sacrifice to Him, for love of Him.  We can spend our entire day loving God through our actions and through those whom God has placed on our path.   

Love is not simply a feeling, it is a gift, and as Blessed Mother Teresa says, “Give until it hurts.”  That is love, Jesus-style. 

I recently watched the Disney movie Frozen with my family and one quote resonated with me.  Love, as coined in the movie, is “putting someone else’s needs before yours.”   Exactly.

So here are the top 10 Reasons to Sacrifice - Intentionally:

Ten
You might lose weight out of the deal!  

Nine
You will find a renewed strength that only comes from God.  

"Yet those who wait for the LORD will gain new strength; they will mount up with wings like eagles, they will run and not get tired, they will walk and not become weary." (Isaiah 40:3)

Eight
You will grow in holiness.  You will develop a deeper relationship with Christ through prayer that only comes from the longing you allow yourself to endeavor into.   

As Lysa TerKeursts writes in her book, Made to Crave:
It is good for God's people to be put in a place of longing so they feel a slight desperation.  Only then can we be empty enough and open enough to discover the holiness we are made for...  The gap between our frail discipline and God's available strength is bridged with nothing but a simple choice on our part to pursue... holiness.

Seven
You will find more peace in your day.

“Do not be anxious about anything, but in everything, by prayer and petition, with thanksgiving, present your requests to God.”  (Phil 4:6)

“Peace I leave with you; my peace I give you. I do not give to you as the world gives. Do not let your hearts be troubled and do not be afraid.” (John 14:27)

Six
... and with peace, you will find true joy.

A life, lived for love of Lord, enables us to live in peace and as a result, experience true joy. As F.B. Meyer says “Joy is peace dancing and peace is joy at rest.”

Five
You will be more open to the inspiration of the Holy Spirit.
In the same way, the Spirit helps us in our weakness. We do not know what we ought to pray for, but the Spirit himself intercedes for us with groans that words cannot express. And he who searches our hearts knows the mind of the Spirit, because the Spirit intercedes for the saints in accordance with God's will. (Romans 8:26-27)
Four
You will grow closer to Jesus by walking in His footsteps.
For to this you have been called, because Christ also suffered for you, leaving you an example, so that you might follow in his steps. (1 Peter 2:21)

Three
You will allow God to spoil you, for it is in giving that we truly receive.
And we know that in all things, God works for the good of those who love him, who have been called according to his purpose. (Rom 8:28)
Because your love is better than life, my lips will glorify you. (Psalm 63:3) 
Two:
As a disciple, your renewed love, peace, and joy might be the light required to ignite the flame in another soul’s walk with Christ.
You are the light of the world. A city set on a hill cannot be hidden; nor does anyone light a lamp and put it under a basket, but on the lampstand, and it gives light to all who are in the house. Let your light shine before men in such a way that they may see your good works, and glorify your Father who is in heaven." (Matthew 5:14-16)

Number One Reason to sacrifice, intentionally
With God's grace, and a life of obedience, love, and yes, sacrifice, you can look forward, with hope, to hear the beautiful words,
"Well done, good and faithful servant!" (Matthew 25:21)


Sacrifice may not seem easy, but it is simple.  With Him, our yoke is easy, and burden light.  He asks us to take up our crosses, daily and follow Him. 

St. Francis of Assisi assures us:

·         Start by doing what is necessary
·         then what is possible
·         and suddenly you are doing the impossible


Love is shown in so many ways, sacrifice is most assuredly one of them. 

+JMJ+

P31 OBS Blog Hop

Friday, February 14, 2014

The Miracle Prayer

 


Say this prayer faithfully, no matter how you feel.
When you come to the point where you sincerely mean each word with all your heart,
Jesus will change your whole life in a very special way.
You will see. 1
 
Dear Lord Jesus, I come before you just as I am.  I am sorry for my sins.

I repent of my sins.  Please forgive me.

In Your Name, Jesus, I forgive all others for what they have done against me.

I renounce satan*, the evil spirits, and all their works.

I give You my entire self.

Lord Jesus now and forever, I invite You into my life, Jesus.

I accept you as my Lord, God, and Savior.

Heal me, change me, and strengthen me in body, soul, and spirit.

Come Lord Jesus, Cover me with Your Precious Blood and fill me with your Holy Spirit.

I love you Lord Jesus.  I praise you Jesus. I thank you Jesus.

I shall follow you every day of my Life.

Lord Jesus Christ, have mercy on me a poor sinner.

Amen

------

This was given to me through the Jesus Heals Ministry of Bloomington, MN.  Pray for their continued service, as they serve, in Jesus' name.  Thank you Jesus Heals Ministry team!

1 - description courtesy of Catholic Tradition.org

*I refuse to capitalize his name

Saturday, February 8, 2014

Jesus' Compassion in His Passion - He Died for Me



Crucifixion painted by Saint Alphonsus Liguori


 -----
For God so loved the world
That He gave His
Only begotten Son - John 3:16
-----
 

video


What is Jesus’ Passion?
To understand Jesus’ compassion in His Passion, we first need to understand exactly what Jesus’ Passion is.
Passion stems from the Latin work pati, meaning to suffer.  Therefore Jesus’ passion is "The sufferings of Christ between the night of the last supper and His death."  3
What is Jesus’ Compassion?
Compassion stems, from the word com, which means, with or together.  Therefore, compassion is suffering together. 
God in Christ “suffers with” the world. This is the actual meaning of the word compassion. I believe nothing expresses the central truth of God’s essence more fully than compassion, the outworking of God’s self-giving love. We see compassion on the cross.  11
To find Jesus’ compassion, suffering together,  within His Passion, it is best that we walk with Him, on this sorrowful journey.  We will join Him in His Passion and death by using two powerful prayers:  The Sorrowful Mysteries of the Rosary and The Way of the Cross. 
We will also examine the seven last phrases Jesus speaks from the cross and the wisdom He imparts unto us in these powerful words.
Why the rosary? 
The Catechism of the Catholic Church teaches that Christian prayer “Tries above all to meditate on the mysteries of Christ.   This form of prayerful reflection is of great value to the knowledge of the love of the Lord Jesus, to union with him.” CCC 2708 
The Sorrowful Mysteries of the Rosary enable us to accompany and console Jesus from His Agony in the Garden through to His Crucifixion and death, with Mary.
Why the Way of the Cross (or Stations of the Cross)?
The fourteen Stations of the Cross represent events from Jesus’ passion and death.  At each station we use our senses and our imagination to reflect prayerfully upon Jesus’ suffering and death.  1
The Catechism teaches that the Way of the Cross “Venerates and honors the Heart of Jesus just as it invokes His most Holy Name. It adores Him and his Heart which, out of love for men, he allowed to be pierced by our sins.
Christian prayer loves to follow the way of the cross in our Savior's steps. The stations, from the Praetorium to Golgotha and the tomb, trace the way of Jesus, who by His holy Cross has redeemed the world.” CCC 2669 
We are the authors, the reason for His Passion.  It was our sins He willingly took upon Himself;  He being sinless and blameless.  Our Church has never forgotten that as "sinners [we] were the authors and the ministers of all the sufferings that the divine Redeemer endured." Taking into account the fact that our sins affect Christ himself, the Church does not hesitate to impute to Christians the gravest responsibility for the torments inflicted upon Jesus, a responsibility with which they have all too often burdened the Jews alone. CCC 598
The Way of the Cross enables us to walk, with Jesus, along the path leading to our salvation, by His blood; to console Him, to love Him, to suffer with Him, and to thank Him.
He died for you: 


The Church, following the apostles, teaches that Christ died for all men without exception: "There is not, never has been, and never will be a single human being for whom Christ did not suffer." CCC 605 
My sister Annie shared with me the story about a little girl who, when talking about Jesus’ Passion and His love for us, said to her, “Jesus died for me, and if I was the only person in the whole wide world, he still would have died, just for me.”
If you unpack only one thing from this talk, I pray that you embrace the truth that Jesus loves you; He suffered and died…  for you.  And if you were the only person in the whole wide world, he still would have died, just for you.
The Agony in the Garden
Now that we know the path we will follow with Jesus, our journey will begin with the Sorrowful Mysteries of the Rosary, Jesus’ Agony in the Garden.

Imagine Jesus just finished the last supper with His disciples, having sung psalms and left for the Mount of Olives.  He has already warned Peter that before the cock crows, he will have disowned Jesus three times.  (MT 26). 
In Matthew 26 verse 36, Jesus arrives at an estate called Gethsemane where he leaves the disciples a little way behind that he may pray, alone.  He knew what was coming.   “He fell on his face and prayed, ‘My Father… if it is possible, let this cup pass by me.  Nevertheless, let it be as you, not I would have it.’”  The cup Jesus is referring to is the His Passion, the “cup of God's wrath that…[He], God's suffering servant, must drink. 6
Jesus is basically saying, “Yes Father, I know Your Will, it is laden in torture, suffering, torments, humiliation, rejection, and ultimately, a very painful death.  It is not my favorite.  If you want to go with a plan B, I am amenable. But, it’s up to You, You are My Father.  For love of You, and for love of my brothers and sisters, for them to enjoy eternal life, I will take their sins upon myself, and redeem them with my blood.”  His love is so great that He was willing to take on the burden of our sins, though he remained sinless, so that we could inherit eternal life. 
In Luke, chapter 22, the agony he experienced in his prayer is so intense that “In His anguish He prayed even more earnestly, and his sweat fell to the ground like great drops of blood.”   When you consider that every world written in scripture is as 2 Timothy teaches “Inspired by God and profitable for teaching,” Jesus’ sweating blood is not used figuratively.  In fact, this is a real condition, called Hematidrosis.  Hematidrosis is a very rare condition in which a human sweats blood.  Blood will ooze from the forehead and other skin surfaces, nails, and umbilicus, causing nose bleeds, and blood stained tears. 4
“It may occur when a person is suffering extreme levels of stress, for example, facing his or her own death. Several historical references have been described; notably by Leonardo da Vinci describing a soldier who sweated blood before battle, men unexpectedly given a death sentence, as well as descriptions reported in the Bible, the agony in the Garden specifically (Luke 22:43-44.)”4
Now picture Jesus where he lay on the ground, soaked in blood, praying to His Father, and ultimately surrendering His Will to the Will of His Father; “Not my will, but yours be done (Luke 22:42).”  Jesus is agreeing to take on this suffering because He loves us, unendingly and he obeys His Father in Heaven.   We are called to do the same, love and obey.  Jesus came not “to be served, but to serve, and to give his life as a ransom for many [for us] (MT 20:28).”

This is followed by Judas’ kiss of betrayal in the garden, and Jesus’ arrest.  Next, Jesus is brought to Pilate where he condones Jesus’ flogging (scourging), thinking him not guilty of a crime great enough for a sentence of death (Luke 23:15-16).
The Scourging at the Pillar
Now, scourging, the way it was done by the Romans was horrific.  In Jesus’ scourging, they tore off his clothes, laying bare his back and made him stretch himself across the whipping post and fastened him there.   Then getting their heavy whips, they took their turn lashing his back.   “Men have been known to die of such a scourging.”  5 

Here we see an image of Jesus, after the Scourging at the Pillar.  This is taken from the Movie, The Passion of the Christ.

The Crowning with Thorns


After they scourged Jesus, they lead Him into the Praetorium , according to Miriam Webster, this would have been Pilate’s residence.   We continue in Matthew 27, “They then stripped him and made him wear a scarlet cloak, and having twisted some thorns into a crown they put this on his head and a placed reed in his right hand.”
After he was crowned with this harrowing crown, they made fun of Him and spat on Him. 
Jesus is Condemned to Death - Pontius Pilate condemns Jesus to death.


Matthew 19:5, “Jesus then came out, wearing the crown of thorns and the purple robe. Pilate said to them, ‘Behold, the Man!’  So when the chief priests and the officers saw Him, they cried out saying, ‘Crucify, crucify!’ Pilate said to them, ‘Take Him yourselves and crucify Him, for I find no guilt in Him.’  The Jews answered him, ‘We have a law, and by that law He ought to die because He made Himself out to be the Son of God.’”
Washing his hands clean of the whole affair, Pilate condemns Christ to death and he is lead away to be crucified.
Consider that it was not Pilate’s sins alone that condemned Jesus to die; it was ours as well.
It is also helpful to consider Pilate’s vantage point in this station.  We must pray to be stronger than Pilate was.  He went along with the crowd; he capitulated due to fear and pressure from the Jews.   He is not wholly responsible for Jesus’ death, but with a little fortitude, he could have prevented it. 
Jesus is Made to Carry His Cross


“The heavy cross is dropped upon His weary, pain-racked shoulders.” 5   Jesus willingly accepts and patiently bears his cross.
“Consider that Jesus, in making this journey with the cross on His shoulders, thought of us and offered for us to His Father the death that He was about to undergo.”   This station affords us the opportunity to align our crosses with the Cross of Christ.  We can ask Him to give us “the necessary help” in carrying our own crosses. 1 
Jesus knows what it is to suffer and wishes to assist us on our journey back to Him, in an eternal family.  He assures us in Matthew 11:30, that with Him, our yoke is easy and burden light.  Where this becomes difficult for many of us, is not only must we entreat His assistance, we must surrender our crosses and trust Him to do with them according to His Divine Will.  Surrender is simple, but not easy. 
Jesus Falls the First Time - Weakened by torments and by loss of blood, Jesus falls beneath his cross.

Here we consider the first fall of Jesus under His cross.  “His flesh was torn by the scourges, His head crowned with thorns, and He had lost a great quantity of blood.  He was so weakened that He could scarcely walk, and yet He had to carry this great load upon His shoulders.  The soldiers struck Him rudely, and thus He fell several times in His journey.”1
During this station we are called to ponder and pray over the reality that it was not the weight of the cross, but our sins that made Jesus suffer so much pain.   Each time we choose sin, we hurt Him. 
Jesus Meets His Sorrowful Mother - Jesus meets his mother, Mary, who is filled with grief.


 “Consider the meeting of the Son and the Mother, which took place on this journey.  Jesus and Mary looked at each other, and their looks became as so many arrows to wound those hearts which loved each other so tenderly.”1
 “Mary was present, representing all the heavenly court...  When [Jesus] looked into her anguished face He drew courage and strength to continue.  She did this for Him and this was part of her sacrifice.  He drew courage from her.”  9
A very powerful meditation for this mystery is to ponder your own child, hurting.  As parents, we watch our children encounter pain, and oftentimes we can only comfort them, but not stop the pain.  It is a powerless feeling, in which, if we could, we would take it all away. 
Now imagine Mary, Jesus’ mother seeing Jesus’ Passion, watching, unable to help Him.  With a heavy heart, overwhelmed with sorrow, she had courage enough to give Jesus the strength to persevere.
Simon of Cyrene Helps Jesus Carry the Cross - Soldiers force Simon of Cyrene to carry the cross.


Here we consider how the Jews recognize that Jesus could likely die on the way to His crucifixion, under the weight of the cross.  They wished Him to die the ignominious death of the Cross and thus, constrained Simon the Cyrenian to carry the Cross behind our Lord.
“On their way out, they came across a man from Cyrene - Simon by name, and enlisted him to carry his cross (MT 27:32).”
At first Simon refused this appointment, and we are to consider this.  Whatever the reason Simon initially refuses, he did finally submit and assist Jesus the remainder of the way. 
Simon is no different than we are when presented with our crosses.  Sometimes the cross looks too heavy.  We respond with fear and trepidation in our ability to persevere.  We might consider the possibility of being judged wrongly by our peers if we willingly take up our crosses, rather than denying them.   We need only place our fear and weakness at the foot of the Cross. 
With Jesus, all things are possible and He wants to provide divine assistance, His divine assistance, as we surrender to Him and willingly, as Jesus says in Luke 9:23, deny ourselves, and take up our cross daily and follow Him.
Veronica Wipes the Face of Jesus - Veronica steps through the crowd to wipe the face of Jesus.


Here we “Consider how the holy woman named Veronica, seeing Jesus so afflicted, and His face bathed in sweat and blood, presented Him with a towel, with which He wiped His adorable face, leaving on it the impression of His holy countenance.”1
With gratitude, and love, how can we console Jesus, as He suffers for our sins?  What can we do to help Him on this painful journey?  Can we perform works of mercy for love of Him?  Can we manfully take up our crosses, daily? 
 Jesus Falls a Second Time - Jesus falls beneath the weight of the cross a second time.


Here we consider “the second fall of Jesus under the Cross,  a fall which renews the pain of all the wounds of the head and members of our afflicted Lord.”1
Jesus has pardoned us, through His generous gift in the Sacrament of Reconciliation.  We fall, He picks us up again.  He gives us the ability to begin again.  Even so, we fall again.  Jesus fell again.  We ask that by the merits of this new fall, that He gives us the necessary help to persevere in His grace.  We ask that in time of temptation, we may always commend ourselves to Him.
The Women of Jerusalem Weep Over Jesus- Jesus tells the women to weep not for him but for themselves and for their children.

In Luke 23:27-28 we read that, Jesus, covered in blood, suffering on His Way of the Cross, meets women who, “were mourning and lamenting Him. But Jesus turning to them said, “Daughters of Jerusalem, stop weeping for Me, but weep for yourselves and for your children.”
This is a powerful image to consider, in that, in the throes of Jesus’ Passion, His excruciating pain and exhaustion, what does He do?  He consoles these women. 
Women and children suffer greatly in this world, at the hands of unscrupulous men.  Jesus looked out and saw innocent children and women throughout all of history.   He felt their pain, tenderness, and every bit of compassion.   It is always His will to help such as these. 9
Jesus Falls a Third Time - Weakened almost to the point of death, Jesus falls a third time.


Here, we consider “the third fall of Jesus Christ.  His weakness was extreme, and the cruelty of His executioners was excessive, who tried to hasten His steps when He had scarcely strength to move.” 1
Jesus is near death, again, he falls.  Consider the humility of our God, who would send His only son; God the Son, in the form of a man.  He took on human weakness, without our sinfulness.  He is suffering for our sins, when He is blameless.  His falling shows us that when we carry our crosses, we can expect to fall.  We are human.  In His humanity Jesus did fall, but He got up, and continued to carry His cross until all was accomplished.  He asks us to do the same.  He will provide the grace sufficient to do so, if only we ask.
As parents, we understand crosses.   We are asked to endure ours with patience.  Like Jesus, we will fall. 
St. Thomas Aquains says, “If you seek patience, you will find no better example than the Cross. Great patience occurs in two ways: either when one patiently suffers much, or when one suffers things which one is able to avoid and yet does not avoid.  Christ endured much on the cross, and did so patiently, because when he suffered he did not threaten; he was led like a sheep to the slaughter and he did not open his mouth. “
esus Is Stripped of His Garments - The soldiers strip Jesus of his garments, treating him as a common criminal.

Here, we consider “the violence with which the executioners stripped Jesus. His inner garments adhered to His torn flesh, and they dragged them off so roughly that the skin came with them. “1
Again, pain on top of pain, Jesus bore for us.  He was stripped of his garments, completely exposed; naked.  Part of the indignity of the sentence of crucifixion is to be crucified naked.  Imagine.  Jesus held on to nothing.  He allowed Himself to be completely exposed; for us. 
Jesus is teaching us that we are not to trouble ourselves with worldly humiliation.  It is not the world’s approval that counts.  We should, “seek first the Kingdom of God (MT 6:33).”    “We need to separate ourselves from the world and practice detachment from worldly things, human respect and at times even people.  We must separate because if we become too attached to these things, we cannot serve Him with completeness in Christ and in service to Christ.”9
Jesus was sent to guides us, to teach us “the way” to eternal life.  This is what he asks of us; that we fear nothing and hold nothing back from Him, to be completely exposed and vulnerable to Him; humble.  If we do this, we will “yawn at worldly humiliation and seek [only] to impress our heavenly friends. “ 9
Jesus Is Nailed to the Cross - Jesus’ hands and feet are nailed to the cross.


Here, we consider “How Jesus, after being thrown on the Cross extended His hands, and offered to His Eternal Father the sacrifice of His death for our salvation. These barbarians fastened Him with nails, and then, raising the Cross, allowed Him to die with anguish on this infamous gibbet.”1
Here He is, raised up, bloody, naked, writhing in pain, and suffocating, for love of us.  Even from the cross, Jesus imparts upon us mercy, wisdom, and love with His final seven phrases:

1.       "Father, forgive them, for they do not know what they do."  Gospel of Luke 23:34


How many of us are tempted to repay injury with injury?  It is built into our human condition and we must work against this inclination.  These feelings are often rooted in humiliation, abandonment, rejection, and betrayal.  Jesus endured all of these as well as ridicule, torture, and ultimately, death.  He, in His infinite love and mercy, rather than condemning, forgives.  He entreats His Father to have mercy on those who were responsible for His suffering.  Ultimately, He is showing His mercy to us. 
Our sins, along with those present at the foot of the cross that day, were responsible for His death, and from His cross, He begs His Father to forgive, they know not what they do.   We know not what we do; for if we truly knew the pain our sins cause Him, we would do all we could, with God’s grace, to stop.
Jesus is saying to you, “I forgive you; you know not what you do.”
2.       "Truly, I say to you, today you will be with me in Paradise."  Gospel of Luke 23:43


In Luke 23:39 – 42 we read that one of two criminals crucified along with Jesus “Was hurling abuse at Him, saying, ‘Are You not the Christ? Save Yourself and us!’” But the other answered, and rebuking him said, “Do you not fear God, since you are under the same sentence?  We are punished justly, for we are getting what our deeds deserve. But this man has done nothing wrong.”  Then he said, “Jesus, remember me when you come into your kingdom.”
The good thief humbles himself and admits that his sentence is commensurate to that of his crime.  Conversely, Jesus has done nothing wrong.  This good thief gives us an example of true contrition.  He asks for forgiveness and accepts his temporal punishment, as it was fitting for the crime he committed.  For this, Jesus shows us His mercy, through his promise to the repentant and contrite sinner; eternal life.
Jesus is saying to you, “I promise you paradise, you need only come to me for forgiveness.  There is no sin greater than my mercy.”

3.       "Jesus said to his mother: "Woman, this is your son."  Then he said to the disciple: "This is your mother."  Gospel of John 19:26-27


In these two simple statements, Jesus blesses us for all eternity with the gift of His mother.  She is entrusted with our souls to dispense grace, to pray for, guide, and love us as our Mother.  Thus, from the cross, Mary is given to us as our mother and we are given to her as her spiritual children. 

Jesus is saying to you, “My beautiful Mother, I have entrusted (Insert your name )to your care, to be a channel of grace for her.  Pray for her.  You will be her guide to heaven.  (Insert your name) , this is Mary, My Mother.  You cannot love her more than I do, but love her and go to her.  With her as your guide, you can never go astray (St. Maximilian Kolbe & St. Bernard.)  My mother, your mother.”
4.       "My God, my God, why have you forsaken me?"  Matthew 27:46 and Mark 15:34
 

Here, Jesus is saying that He felt abandoned, “the union with His Father that He had been accustomed to had been separated during this, His time of Passion.  He was meant to feel abandoned by God”.  This is how we sometimes feel, on a lesser scale, when He lets go of the bike or we are in a period of aridity.   Remember that God is there, despite our feelings of aloneness. “9
 Psalm 22
In addition, from the Cross, Jesus is pointing to Psalm 22.  Jesus’ crucifixion is fulfillment of this prophecy, and those at the foot of the cross would have recognized this.   The Jews, including the Pharisees were, scholars of the Torah, including the Psalms.
 In Psalm 22 we read, “My God, my God, why have You forsaken me? Far from my deliverance are the words of my groaning.  O my God, I cry by day, but You do not answer; and by night, but I have no rest.  Be not far from me, for trouble is near; for there is none to help. I am poured out like water, and all my bones are out of joint; my heart is like wax; it is melted within me… 
For dogs have surrounded me; a band of evildoers has encompassed me; they pierced my hands and my feet. I can count all my bones.  They look, they stare at me; they divide my garments among them, and for my clothing they cast lots…
It is important to consider that Psalm 22, which was written by King David, was written approximately 1,000 years before Jesus’ Passion. Jesus was the fulfillment of this prophecy, a perfect fulfillment.
Jesus is saying to you, “Even when you feel alone, especially when you feel alone, remember, My Father is with you.  He will never abandon you. I will never abandon you.”

5.       "I thirst."  Gospel of John 19:28

Taken from Mother Teresa’s Prayer,  I Thirst:
“…I Thirst for You. Yes, that is the only way to even begin to describe My love for you.
I THIRST FOR YOU. I thirst to love you and to be loved by you – that is how precious you are to Me.
I THIRST FOR YOU. Come to Me, and I will fill your heart and heal your wounds. I will make you a new creation, and give you peace, even in all your trials
I THIRST FOR YOU. You must never doubt My mercy, My acceptance of you, My desire to forgive, My longing to bless you and live My life in you.
I THIRST FOR YOU. If you feel unimportant in the eyes of the world, that matters not at all. For Me, there is no one any more important in the entire world than you.
I THIRST FOR YOU. Open to Me, come to Me, thirst for Me, give me your life – and I will prove to you how important you are to My Heart. Don’t you realize that My Father already has a perfect plan to transform your life, beginning from this moment? Trust in Me. Ask Me every day to enter and take charge of your life. – and I will. I promise you before My Father in heaven that I will work miracles in your life. Why would I do this? Because
I THIRST FOR YOU.   All I ask of you is that you entrust yourself to Me completely. I will do all the rest.”
Jesus is saying to you, “I thirst for YOU.  I love YOU.  Give me your life. There is no one any more important in the entire world than you.”
6. When Jesus had received the wine, he said, "It is finished;" and he bowed his head and handed over the spirit.  Gospel of John 19:30. 
“The statement “It is finished” reveals that Jesus faithfully fulfilled His mission to save mankind from sin. 
 God's plan was simple.  Send His son, Jesus, to die (as a sin offering…our sacrificial lamb) on the cross to cleanse us from our sins. Jesus executed God's game plan perfectly and fulfilled His mission.12
 Interestingly, Jesus used the Greek word "tetelestai" for "it is finished."  This word means "paid in full."  When a debt was fully paid, this word would be written on a loan document, will, or letter.  In the first century, when people had paid their debt in full, they would shout out the word "tetelestai."  It was a shout of triumph…a shout of victory.  When Jesus said, "It is finished," He was declaring victory. 12
6.       Jesus cried out in a loud voice, “Father, into your hands I commend my spirit."  Gospel of Luke 23:46

Luke 23 – 46-49 “Having said this, He breathed His last.   Now when the centurion saw what had happened, he began praising God, saying, ‘Certainly this man was innocent.’ And all the crowds who came together for this spectacle, when they observed what had happened, began to return, beating their breasts. And all His acquaintances and the women who accompanied Him from Galilee were standing at a distance, seeing these things.”

But that is not the end.  Paul says in 1 Corinthians 5:7-8, "Christ our Passover lamb has been sacrificed, let us therefore celebrate the feast. “   [Jesus] has covered our sins, he's made expiation, and yet for the sacrifice to be complete, what must we do? We must receive him; in the Eucharist.   It is complete, when we receive Him in the Holy Eucharist. 
Jesus Dies on the Cross. 


After suffering greatly on the cross, Jesus bows his head and dies.
Consider how thy Jesus, after three hours' Agony on the Cross, consumed at length with anguish, abandons Himself to the weight of His body, bows His head, and dies.

As Saint Bridget for a long time wanted to know the number of blows Our Lord received during His Passion, He one day appeared to her and said:  "I received 5,480 blows on My Body. “
5,480 wounds, for you.
Jesus Is Taken Down From the Cross - The lifeless body of Jesus is tenderly placed in the arms of Mary, His mother.

Consider how, after the death of our Lord, two of His disciples, Joseph and Nicodemus, took Him down from the Cross, and placed Him in the arms of His afflicted Mother, who received Him with unutterable tenderness, and pressed Him to her bosom.  Imagine.
Jesus Is Laid in the Tomb - Jesus’ disciples place his body in the tomb.


Consider how the disciples carried the body of Jesus to bury it, accompanied by His holy Mother, who arranged it in the sepulcher with her own hands. They then closed the tomb, and all withdrew.
Let us Celebrate the Feast
 
 
Again, that is not the end.  Paul says in 1 Corinthians 5:7-8, "Christ our Passover lamb has been sacrificed, let us therefore celebrate the feast.“  

[Jesus] has covered our sins, he's made expiation, and yet for the sacrifice to be complete, we must receive him; in the Eucharist.
It is complete, when we receive Him in the Holy Eucharist. 
In Conclusion
There we have it.  Jesus came, He lived, He Loved, He taught, He suffered, He died.   He redeemed.  
What does this mean to us?
       Compassion – Jesus is suffering with us; Jesus’ compassion is found at the cross. 
       Pray the stations of the Cross
       Pray the Rosary
       Listen to  and apply Jesus’ words to you from the Cross to your life
       He suffered and died for YOU! - He suffers with the world, for the world, for you and for me.  “Christ died for all men without exception: "There is not, never has been, and never will be a single human being for whom Christ did not suffer." CCC 605
       It is not the end - Jesus waits for you in the Eucharist
If you unpack only one thing from this talk, I pray that you embrace the truth that Jesus loves you; He suffered and died…  for you.  And if you were the only person in the whole wide world, he still would have died, just for you.


Christ the Redeemer Statue in Brazil

Thank you most loving, compassionate, and merciful God!   Our Redeemer, Our Savior, Our God!

"Intense love does not measure . . . it just gives."
-- Blessed Mother Teresa

Sources:

1.       Loyola Press (Stations of the Cross)



4.       Wikipedia – Hematidrosis

5.       Let’s  Pray, Not Just Say, the Rosary

6.       The Fourth Cup – Scott Hahn  - http://webpages.marshall.edu/~trimbol3/4thcup4.htm

7.       Better Part


9.       Volume 1 – Direction for our times

10.   New St. Joseph Baltimore Catechism – No. 1

* Some images made possible by - http://dsdoconnor.com/2010/08/28/high-resolution-catholic-images/

In truth, this entire work was through the inspiration of the Holy Spirit. 
I am not that good.
+JMJ+

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