It is an excellent and holy practice to call to mind and meditate on our Lord’s passion, since it is by this path that we shall arrive at a sanctifying union with God.
Thus says S. Paul of the Cross in this morning’s Office of Readings : and I think it is a valuable thought on which to ponder . . . that it is by meditating on Our Lord’s Passion that we come to share in His unity with the Trinity; come to be united totally with that ineffable and infinite eternal majesty.
I know that I contemplate the Passion by no means as often as I ought; largely because I don’t relate it sufficiently clearly to the many good and joyful things which God gives us : but I ought to. I ought to recognize that even in the very best of things, there are links to the Passion, and then I ought – in my meditations, at least – to follow those links to whatever point they lead, in order to gain that insight into His love for us.
Of course His generosity in giving us good and joyful things to enjoy is warming; of course it reassures and fulfils us : but the good things are, ultimately, less generous than the Passion . . . because it’s very easy to give something nice; it’s so much harder, and thus more loving, to give something which hurts, which deprives one, which takes from one permanently.
So, whilst it is right and proper to rejoice in God’s generosity in all the good and pleasant things which He gives us so lavishly, it is better still to rejoice in the things which He gave us simply, and once . . . His Passion and Cross; His sufferings . . . for from those came something that need never be repeated. Unlike the warm sun, the sparkling sea, the fragrance of flowers, which need to be repeated infinitely to retain their attraction for mankind, Christ’s ultimate gift, horrendous as it was, need never be repeated . . . not only because it was utterly sufficient in itself, but because we can never lose sight of it, never cease to give us its eternal message . . . that through His infinite love and generosity, we are saved for ever.
So, to quote S. Paul once more, bury yourselves therefore in the heart of Jesus crucified, desiring nothing else but to lead all men to follow His will in all things : for by doing that, by recognizing – and leading others to recognize – this saving generosity and to follow it whatever the cost, we not only save ourselves, but them as well . . . a joy which truly lasts for ever.