ROME, MARCH 28, 2002 (Zenit.org).- On the eve of Good Friday, ZENIT presents a meditation on the Way of the Cross, written by Monsignor Luigi Giussani, founder of the Communion and Liberation movement.
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Meditations Along the Way of the Cross
by Monsignor Luigi Giussani
Jesus is condemned to death
We´re among the killers of Christ, like all the others; like all the others, but in a way that is absolutely as particular as the relationship He has with us. Nevertheless, this Presence remains inexorable in our life, because it belongs to Him. The Lord, in His Mercy, chose us, pardoned us, embraced us over and over again. He took upon Himself all of our sins, we are already pardoned. But this must manifest itself. How? Through this heart of mine that welcomes Him, recognizes Him. It is something so simple, but there is nothing more divine in the world, more miraculous, that is, greater than the foretaste of the ultimate, eternal evidence.
Jesus is given the cross
“You walk with us in the desert.” This word is true. You don´t take away the desert that is our life, but you speak in it, and your word is the bread that satisfies, the rock on which to build. This is the pain of Your Cross: You came to walk with us and we leave You alone. May our eyes and our hearts be moved in the memory of this sacrificed Presence of Yours, of this walking of Yours in the desert. You willingly embraced the cross. Who among us has made this will to sacrifice habitual?
Jesus falls for the first time
This is the crime, man´s fading away from himself, from that which he is made of, that is, from himself, the fading away of man from himself. Sin. What a roaring imposition this word, then, assumes: sin. And such a word is understood from its origin, from its root, which is the forgetting of You, O Father. Entrusting yourself to Him means following Him, accepting His law. It can seem like a sacrifice, but it is for a joy. This path in which sacrifice is the condition for becoming mature, great, is to our advantage. Our awareness will become deeper, the Consoler will be given us. Salvation is a gift — it is not a searching on our part, an effort — and it has a name: Christ.
Jesus meets his mother
The first meaning of Mary´s gaze at Him is an identification. Who would have thought that the Creator, in order for us to live the relationship with all things, would have lost these things in order to regain them. His mother believed this right away. Mary, make us participants in this awareness with which you watched your Son die alone, alone, on the cross. You watched your Son walk with men for whom He came to die, alone.
Simon of Cyrene helps Jesus carry the cross
There is a fact as big as a mountain that comes first, and through which your path must pass: God loved us first. None of us can pull this fact away from the fabric of life: we have been called. God chose us, we are God´s particular property, our life belongs to Him.
Veronica wipes the face of Jesus
Sacrifice is neither beautiful nor evocative. Christ suffering and dying is sacrifice. The sacrifice … is Christ suffering and dying. He is the meaning of our lives. He must affect the present, because what is not loved in the present is not loved, and what is not affirmed in the present is not affirmed. “Your name was born from what you looked at.” (John Paul II) The law of existence is love, because love is to affirm something outside of myself with my actions. All of life is in function of something greater, is in function of God. Our life is in function of You, O Christ. “I look for your face.” “I look for your face.” This is the essence of time. “I look for your face.” This is the essence of the heart. “I look for your face.” This is the nature of reason.
Jesus falls for the second time
If we pay attention to our days, to each input of sacrifice, which we make, we truly perceive ourselves as redeemers, rebuilders of destroyed cities, redeemers with Christ. Thus our action opens out, opens up: with the presence of Christ, with the heart of Christ, our personal life breaks through the horizon and opens itself to the Infinite, an Infinite that, like the light of the sun, reaches the hovels, the dark places, making everything new. We must collaborate with that for which Christ died.
“Vocation” means being particularly called to this, to making this inevitable for us: participating in that action through which Christ died in order to redeem, in order to save man. We cannot walk the streets and look at the faces of others without feeling a longing, a yearning desire to save them. It is within this yearning that we save ourselves.
Jesus meets the women of Jerusalem
We cannot look at Christ without the awareness of being sinners. That we are sinners is a judgment that emerges when we look at the face of Him whom we´ve grieved. Our days instead are dominated by distraction, so our hearts remain arid, and what we do is full of claims.
Jesus falls for the third time
“It pleased the Lord to prostrate Him in pain.” God is positivity, God is Being; everything that does not finish in this word doesn´t exist, isn´t true, isn´t real. Everything finishes in this word, through sacrifice. It is in sacrifice that everything becomes true, including yourself and your very life.
Jesus is stripped of His garments
We must agree to reject the immediacy with which things present themselves to us or solicit us, adhere to the mysterious path of God that invites us to follow His word, to follow His revelation, the way in which He Himself came to save us, to free us. He mounted the cross to free us from the fascination with nothingness, to free us from the fascination with appearances, with the ephemeral.
Jesus is nailed to the cross
Christ crucified is sin condemned by the Father. The cross of Christ is the explosion of the awareness of evil. We enter into the relationship with Christ through the awareness we have of our sin. Here is where the fall without end in us is activated: in the absence of the awareness of sin and in the false awareness of sin, because regret, skepticism are not awareness of sin. He who has the sense of his own sin also has the sense of his own liberation.
Jesus dies on the cross
We cannot forget at what price we have been saved, every day. Sacrifice is not an objection, not even human defeat is an objection, but is rather the root of the Resurrection; it is the possibility of a true life. The event that reoccurs here and now and, if it is first and foremost a fact — a fact that you cannot reduce to nothing, that you cannot censor, that you cannot cancel — if it is first and foremost a fact, it is a fact for you, a fact of supreme interest to you. It is a fact for you! For you, for me, for me! “For you” is the voice that springs forth from the heart of the Crucified One. “For me” is the echo of my heart that suffers, of my awareness that suffers. Everything would fall into death without this voice, without this Presence.
Jesus is taken down from the cross
The whole world judges pain as a punishment, judges the man who is touched by pain, forced to renounce, to sacrifice as someone stricken and humiliated by God. But Mary does not. It was clear to her heart, crucified along with Christ´s, that the punishment that gives us salvation, that exalts life, was blasted upon Him, and for this reason God exalted Him and gave Him a name that is above every other name. Fac ut ardeat cor meum in amando Christum Deum ut sibi complaceam. Here is the great moral law. Here is where the true moral law surges forth. Here is where morality springs forth: pleasing the Mystery, pleasing that man who was crucified and resurrected so I could be freed.
Jesus is placed in the tomb
The threshold to the truth of sacrifice lies in the question: “O God, make haste to help me.” Here the rolling away of the stone of the tomb of our empty actions begins. The Resurrection begins from this aspect of our infinite impotence, which is begging, from this supreme recognition that God alone is powerful, and from the supreme gratitude that He who initiated our existence wants to carry it to fulfillment. There is nothing more expressive, universal, Catholic, ecumenical, than a heart made new by the “yes” to Christ, by that hope in Him for which each of us daily takes up the search again, the desire, the asking, the sacrifice of purity. Always living a peace in the continually revived mortification.