Saturday, March 31, 2012

The Eleventh Station~Jesus is Nailed to the Cross~Forgiveness

To those who stood by it must indeed have seemed now that Christ was separated from other men. . . . That was how things seemed to be. But in reality, as Christ stretched out His beautiful craftsman's hands and composed His blameless feet on the hard wood of the cross to receive the nails, He was reaching out to countless men through all time: as He stretched His body on that great tree that was to flower with His life for ever, He gave Himself to be made one with all those who in every generation to come would willingly bind and fasten themselves irrevocably to the cross, for the love of God and the love of men.

For all through time for those who love Christ and who want to be one with Him, love and the cross would be inseparable; but because Christ willed that He should be nailed to the cross Himself in His human nature, love will always predominate and redeem the suffering of the cross.

Caryll Houselander, The Way of the Cross

I'm not sure whether or not I'm conflating these two events, but if they didn't happen at the same time, the second came fairly soon after the first.

About 35 years ago, I went to a day of renewal in another city. It was shortly after I had recommitted myself to following my Catholic faith, and I think it was the first time I had ever attended anything like this. I'm really not sure what was going on at the time this happened but probably the speaker was leading us in some kind of guided meditation. I had my eyes closed and as I was praying, it hit me very forcibly that Jesus had died, not just for my sins, but for the sins of everyone that had ever sinned against me, and that when I refused to forgive someone, I was holding back the forgiveness that He had died for--that I was trying to undo the work of Christ on the cross. I can't begin to explain the difference that this made in my life because at the time, I was very aware of ways in which other people had sinned against me, and I knew that I was going to have to forgive them. What's really strange is that I know that there were these offenses, or perceived offenses that I had to forgive and that at the time they were huge to me, and now I only have the vaguest notion of what they might have been.

Soon after that, and perhaps directly after that, I was praying and I "saw" Jesus being nailed to the cross. It was very vivid and wasn't something I'd been thinking about, but just came out of nowhere. (Well, somewhere, I'm sure.) It was from a position low to the ground and I was looking up His left arm, and could see his side and the back of His head. His left hand was already nailed to the cross, and they were nailing His right hand. Even now, I can see it fairly clearly. It's always somewhere in that back of may consciousness because after that, I knew He did this for me.

wholly surrendered
to the will of Your Father
and wholly identified with us,
Lord nailed to the cross
by Your own choosing,
teach us to obey,
to accept,
to bow to the will of God.


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