The Passion: Personally

Every Good Friday for the last six years, Herself sits with Cowboy Papist and we watch the Mel Gibson movie, Passion of the Christ.  It’s now a bit of a tradition for us; for this film reflects in a deep and moving way the Liturgy of the Eucharist we celebrate at Mass; and for us it provides a visual thumb drive we savor for those times when we need to feel the sacrifice made by Christ on our behalf.

So this Good Friday, we sat in a wind storm here and watch this movie.  It seems we always see something we hadn’t seen before, or more likely, have forgotten.  Cowboy Papist struggles to watch the tortuous scourging Christ receives by keeping one eye covered, yet we watch.  We strongly believe it’s important to remember the sacrifice He personally made for each of us.

Herself cannot watch this film without weeping as she can associate with the point of view of the Holy Mother.  Knowing her son to be the Messiah as foretold to her by an angel, Mary is with Him, “flesh of her flesh,” at the trial, scourging, the incessant beatings on the Via Dolorosa, and the final wicked crucifixion.  “I am here!” she cries to him as he struggles to get up after falling.

She is here, is she not?  Always in our prayers, our rosaries, our intentions for she knows the love we crave in our hearts for Christ, her sacred heart can feel it ever so much.

“See how I make all things new!” He tells His mother, again it seems for she isn’t surprised to hear him say it – perhaps her human heart doubts, but His does not.

Cowboy Papist keeps his red kerchief handy; the closing Pieta are too much to watch as the Holy Mother looks directly at us, urging us to follow Him in our thoughts words and actions.  The tears come from the knowledge that, as prayed at each Mass, “I am unworthy to receive you.”  The Holy Mother’s face tells us that none of it matters, for we are baptized in His grace, love and mercy – and his forgiveness is there.  We need simply ask for it for He makes all things new.

The allegorical reflections of this movie are amazing; staying with us for weeks and even months.  If one is honest with himself, we can put ourselves into the role of each character in the passion, except for the One.  We are the one who scourge our Savior, who whip him as He carries the cross, who nail His blessed hands and feet, we are the ones who scream, “Crucify Him – Crucify Him!”

While in truth, we could not imagine undergoing that torture and death for those who hate us; could we?  We are called to be holy, to love our enemy.  It’s easy to say but too hard to do, for we nothing if not a frail and weak people.  Yet many have made the sacrifices like Christ – their names are in the book of martyrs and saints.

Easter brings our redeeming salvation, the day we can understand why He suffered for us, our enemies, bringing us into His arms.  Ended are the dark days of Lent and the calculating torture of His passion – His grace and love is with us, as it always has been, to renew us like a splash of cool water on a hot day, as we face our daily struggles.   Easter brings us each our own spiritual restoration, like a bright sun out from behind a dark cloud.

Passion of the Christ film is hard to watch, these images staying with us for weeks and months.  Like the film, sometimes the Mass is difficult, for the images of His passion will overlay our weaknesses and our sins scream to us as we pray for His grace, love and forgiveness.  Yet the film implicitly embeds within our consciousness these historical, enigmatic, and mystical messages, providing a moving visual reference of what Scriptures pronounce and the Church teaches.

He Is Risen!  Remember your mercies, O Lord, and with your eternal protection sanctify your servants, for whom Christ your Son, by the shedding of his Blood, established the Paschal Mystery.

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