Tuesday, April 14, 2015

The special graces of contemplating the suffering Christ

Dear Daughters of St. Philip Neri,

Having just celebrated Holy Week, we can look back now with an especial clarity at the virtues of Christ made manifest in His Passion; His love for the Father and for mankind, hatred for sin, meekness, obedience, and compassion.  In Him we see the model and exemplar of our life and as we meditate we are meant to emulate these virtues so as to conform ourselves to our Divine Head.  

In drawing close to Christ in this way through lovingly following Him along the road to Golgatha, special graces are poured forth upon us as they were upon those who participated so intimately in His suffering and death.

“OUR LORD possesses every virtue within His soul, but the occasions of manifesting them especially arise in His Passion. His immense love for His Father, His charity for mankind, hatred of sin, forgiveness of injuries, patience, meekness, fortitude, obedience to lawful authority, compassion, all these virtues shine out in a heroic manner in these days of sorrow.

When we contemplate Jesus in His Passion, we see the Exemplar of our life, the Model—admirable and accessible at the same time—of those virtues of compunction, abnegation, patience, resignation, abandonment to God’s will, charity, meekness, which we ought to practice so as to become like unto our Divine Head: Si quis vult post me venire, abneget semetipsum et tollat crucem suam et sequatur me.

Moreover, when we contemplate the sufferings of Jesus, He grants us, according to the measure of our faith, grace to practise the virtues which He revealed during those holy hours. How is this?
When Christ dwelt upon earth, an all-powerful virtue went out from His Divine Person, healing bodily infirmities, enlightening the mind, and quickening the soul: Virtus de illo exibat, et sanabat omnes.

Something analogous comes to pass when we place ourselves in contact with Jesus by faith. To those who lovingly followed Him along the road to Golgotha or were present at His immolation, Christ surely granted special graces. This virtue which then went out from Him still does so; and when, in a spirit of faith, in order to compassionate His sufferings, and to imitate Him, we follow Him from the pretorium to Calvary and take our stand at the foot of the Cross, He gives us the same graces, He makes us partakers of the same favours.”

Blessed Columba Marmion