Sunday, April 10, 2011

Station II: Jesus receives the cross.

This is part two of a series of posts on the Stations of the Cross. Station I is here. The image source is Blog By-the-Sea, which has a great Stations of its own.

Station II: Jesus Receives the Cross.

After the condemnation, God begins the last, drawn-out way of suffering. The soldiers and crowd form a procession, a grotesque perversion of the joy of Palm Sunday. Jesus, barely standing now, sees before him the heavy cross-bar and knows his Father will permit this burden, too. His heart breaks: "I find my pleasure in doing they will, my God, and thy law dwells within my heart." (Psalm 39)

This is God's own will: to carry the cross. The order of Love, as Pope John Paul II put it, conquers suffering by willingly taking it upon Himself. The Son of God "strikes evil right at its roots ... These transcendental roots of evil are grounded in sin and death... The mission of the only-begotten Son consists in conquering sin and death. He conquers sin by His obedience unto death." (Salvifici Doloris, no. 14)

This is Christ's pleasure and joy as he takes that heavy beam on his shoulders and staggers on.

I watch him embrace the cross with such silence and love and I wonder. How much do I anticipate aches and pains, sleeplessness and failure, with fear? Anxiety and depression can drive us to obsess over future pain: Will I be well enough tomorrow? Will I ever sleep again? Will I lose my faith? With all these questions also comes a desire to avoid suffering at all costs.

In these moments, I can look back at my Jesus. He was not concerned in that moment with the coming pain: Will I fall (yes, he will)? Will I be unable to go on (yes, he will need Simon)? Will I go ever further into the darkness (yes, God will forsake him)?

These questions do not affect him.

He sees the cross-beam and receives it.

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