The Sorrow Christ Endured for Me

I by no means appeared to have sufficient bug spray in Bolivia. Not that it actually mattered—the mosquitos had been supercharged. They’d chew clear by my denims, and I’d have these welts up and down my legs. Mosquitos aren’t identified for taking part in pretty.

This is what I used to be targeted on after I ought to have been praying the Stations of the Cross. We trudged by the muck of the farming neighborhood—squelch, squirt, squelch—holding our flashlights as we moved from one dwelling to the subsequent. It was darkish, my boots had been coated in mud, and the omnipresent buzz of the mosquito swarm hovered throughout us just like the Holy Spirit itself.

En el nombre del Padre…

The Stations of the Cross are a phenomenal invitation to prayer and contemplation. They invite us into the story of Jesus’ journey to Calvary and problem us to stroll in his footsteps, to look to the group in hope and compassion and worry, and to undergo beneath the load of the wooden of the Cross. There’s one thing uniquely Ignatian about this conventional prayer expertise; we see ourselves with Jesus within the story.

And annually, we ask ourselves once more: Am I Simon? Am I Veronica? Or am I one of many anonymous members of the group, too afraid to talk up, to achieve out?

But till that night in Bolivia, in that small farming neighborhood a couple of hours outdoors of Santa Cruz, my expertise of the Stations had been confined to cozy chapels and air-conditioned church buildings. The most uncomfortable I ever felt was a knee on the onerous marble—and that, for only a second.

Those Bolivian Stations set a brand new report.

At least there are solely 14, I assumed, clutching my well-worn prayer booklet and shuffling to the subsequent home. One neighbor after one other stepped out to the entrance porch, main us in prayer.

Here’s the factor, although: We didn’t cease at 14. We didn’t cease at 21. We blew proper previous 30.

“What’s this station?” I muttered. “Washington crosses the Delaware?”

The explicit beats of the Passion story melted away into easy prayers. We not named a second from the lifetime of Jesus however reasonably named the neighbor internet hosting our ever-growing, endless parade of pray-ers.

And the mosquitos buzzed, and my boots squelched, and I had utterly sweat by my t-shirt. Eventually, I simply headed dwelling.

In the Third Week of the Spiritual Exercises, we’re invited to think about the Passion and Death of Jesus. We spend time strolling the identical street to Calvary. And we’re invited to position ourselves within the story, to have interaction our buddy Jesus as he struggles and suffers and in the end dies.

The grace we ask for as we pray by the Way of the Cross is a vital one: “sorrow with Christ in sorrow; a broken spirit with Christ so broken; tears; and interior suffering because of the great suffering which Christ endured for me.” (Spiritual Exercises 203)

For me.

It’s private. Jesus isn’t dying within the summary; Jesus is carrying this burden due to the love he has for me. I’m a part of the story.

And my response—our response—shouldn’t be an train in navel-gazing however sorrow and tears for Christ. He seems to us; we glance to him. And we maintain that gaze.

As we stroll the Way of the Cross in our time and in our personal manner, it’s very tempting to provide in to these distractions that hold us gazing inward: the buzzing mosquitos, the soiled footwear.

“I just have to tend to this thing first; then I can be present to your need.”

But Jesus doesn’t need us neat and tidy, welt-free and air-conditioned on the street to Calvary. We’re invited to sink into the second and the very actual issues we have now now—large and small—as we accompany him to the Cross.

Because the street, actually, is endless. We know from our lived expertise that the Way of the Cross isn’t 14 straightforward steps; it’s one heartache after one other, and the top is so usually nowhere in sight. We blow proper previous station 30 and simply hold going.

But if we have now the knowledge to lookup and out and away from these buzzing irritations that scream for our consideration, we see a rising cloud of witnesses, accompanying each other, praying for each other, carrying each other alongside, mild standing resolute towards the darkness.

The sorrow Christ endured for me so seamlessly turns into the sorrow Christ endures for all of us, in all places, at all times. And we make our response in love.

Image by uroburos from Pixabay.

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