Sunday, March 11, 2012

*Where I Left Creatures

We adore Thee, O Christ, and we praise Thee, Because by Thy holy cross Thou hast redeemed the world.

Behold Jesus crucified! Behold His wounds, received for love of you! His whole appearance betokens love: His head is bent to kiss you; His arms are extended to embrace you; His Heart is open to receive you. O superabundance of love, Jesus, the Son of God, dies upon the cross, that man may live and be delivered from everlasting death!

O most amiable Jesus! Who will grant me that I may die for Thee! I will at least endeavor to die to the world. How must I regard the world and its vanities, when I behold Thee hanging on the cross, covered with wounds? O Jesus, receive me into Thy wounded Heart: I belong entirely to Thee, for Thee alone do I desire to live and to die.
Prayed my Rosary tonight for my typical Saturday intention.  I decided, because I have such a hard time with these Mysteries, to find pictures.  These are the ones that captured my attention.  I do not own any of these and I hope if you like them, if they are for sale, you will purchase them.

1. The Agony in the Garden
Look at how completely hidden Jesus is.  He is secluded and trying to hide even more.  He is desperate in prayer, trying to shield the world out.  He is prostrate and defenseless.  He could be sobbing.  Desperate, heavy, heaving sobs.  His hair is mussed around his hand.  His other arm is flexing, though.  He's still the God of power and might, no matter that he is, right now, at the mercy of the Father's Will.  He wants to hide so much.  He wants to be in His secluded garden where He loves to pray, but that security, even, is soon to be taken away from Him.  He. Will. Have. NOTHING.  Not even the happy memory of where He used to come and talk to the Other Two Persons and His angels.  Even His happy memories will not be of comfort to Him because they will be flayed from Him so that He will have NO chance of comfort.  He wants to curl up in the fetal position.  What's the torment? -- The Cross?  The beatings?  The souls he cannot save?  His friends not caring?  His friends being cowards?  One of his, "friends," being the one to put him through all this?  That He cannot save THAT soul?  His Mother's anguish?  The anguish and love of his two friends who will be there with Him throughout all this?  He wants to hide.  Anxiety is getting to Him, His Body's reaction is telling Him, "THIS ISN'T FAIR!!!" and He wants to not be here.  Adrenaline is pumping through him.  His Heart is racing, His Body is shaking, He's hyperventilating; His Pride is going to take a beating.  Is the moon lighting the scene?  Is that God?  He wants to hide.  Already the weight of the Cross is crushing Him.  He is fervently in prayer.

And, he is alone.  All.  Alone.  He has nobody.  I saw some pictures of an angel or more comforting Him, and, I know that had to have helped Him, but, no, not yet.  For now, He is all alone.  And yet, he cannot hide.  For 30 years of His Life, He was hidden and even throughout His public ministry, he asks others not tell of His Works.  His Divinity was mostly always hidden.  He wants to hide where He is in His favourite garden, but, he cannot hide.
2.  The Scourging At The Pillar
In all honesty, I wanted something more bloody and flagellated, but, this picture spoke to me.  I see the blood on the pillar, but, I wanted something displaying the Wounds He had.  This portrays the agony better.  He has just been struck and the pain is so unbearable that He falls to His Knees.  His Body cannot support His weight with that pain.  The torment was excruciating even though it was expected; He cannot keep silent any longer, despite Him wanting to.  He has no mastery of His Body at this moment, and no matter how much He has prepared for this moment, it is here; there is no going back, even if He wanted to.
Also, He is almost naked.  He has the undergarment on and we can see how very exposed He is.  This picture captures perfectly the agony married with the humiliation.  The soldiers knew no mercy, they wanted to inflict as much pain on Him as possible.  This picture makes one feel it.
But, if that one didn't, this one does *found a Saturday later*:

Once again, His Precious Body simply cannot support the pain.  His Back is scarred, but, not as bad as His Heart.  He cannot catch His Breath.
3.  The Crowning of Thorns.
It's not just a wreath of thorns like we normally see, no, it is like a three level papal tierra, covering His entire Head.  It is all encompassing and matted into His hair.  The soldiers mock Him and wound His Pride.  Where He was beaten bodily before His pride is now scourged.  He is shaking because of the adrenaline but remains silent and at the soldier's disposal.  I asked myself one day while I was praying this, WHY did You not just get up and show them?!!  The answer I got was: because I knew what it would cost if I did.  He knows what He could do, but He chooses not to do it.  He continues to pray for the souls tormenting Him because He does not want them in Hell. 

Back to the picture: He is crying.  I thought His eyes were closed, a prefigurement of His imminent death, but, no, one is, the other is practically swollen shut and black & blue.
4.  Jesus takes up His Cross
And, again, He is down for the count.  His Back is bloodied and the weakness, hunger, and weight of the Cross have gotten to Him.  Although in reality this would have been compounded by the crowd and the soldiers jeering, antagonizing, and mocking Him, in this picture, we see Him alone and beaten.  Just like the first and second picture, He again, is not erect.  He is crushed.  He is hunched over, helpless; His right hand clutches the cross or makes a fist in helpless desperation. Maybe He is hugging His cross and about to push Himself back up. Just like the first pic, we cannot see His Face.  I read somewhere how hard it must have been for Jesus to see His Mom, heartbroken, because that only made Him Heartbroken.  That's what I typically try to focus on when I pray this Mystery.  That and was Jesus trying to forget about the pain by helping others?  Was He trying to get His Mind off of His imminent Death by occupying His mind by comforting the holy women?  I know that is not true, it cannot be because He knows all.  He offers his visage to Veronica's veil.  He is on the way to His own mortality, His humiliating and painful end, and He still, STILL, ministers to others....I try to remember this in my daily life because I know that when I am judged, there's not going to be any excuses allowed.  God kept His focus on others even when He was most cruelly being abused and when others should have helped Him, He was still going strong, freely giving His love to those who were by Him.  This is something to remember when I am being shamefully selfish.

5.  The Crucifixion
This I know is copyrighted.  I have a copy hanging in the living room.  It's called, "John 3:16," and it is done by Protestant William J. Wallace.  God's Body is so burdened with sin that it forces Him away from the Cross.  This picture is unlike all the other Crucifixion pictures with merely Jesus, or Jesus, Mary, John, & Magdalene, or a centurion or two, this picture has EVERYBODY.  Not just everybody at that crucifixion, but, everybody, throughout history; He saw this.  THIS is for whom this was done.  This is why we have Mysteries 1 - 4 and Stations 1 - 10.  Old Testament priests, the centurion there, those who are junkies, those who don't care, those who are royalty, those who are lame, those who are religious, those without shame (seriously, next to the nun, a TRADITIONALLY DRESSED MODEST nun, next to her, the scantily clad woman).  I also love the two little old gossipy church ladies.  ...And the woman in the back, who has, "Jesus," on the back of her shirt, but, she's preaching this to no one.  In front of her is vastness.  Two people have pointed out that she is in front of the Buddha, but, she's not, not directly.  There is a vast open space, she is saying this to nobody.  I always imagined that woman to be those who are all show.  She has Jesus on her shirt, but, on the back of her shirt, where she cannot see, and, she is turned away from Jesus.  But Jesus still died for her, and the astronaut.  This picture isn't nearly as bloody as it could be.  I do not know if the light is coming down from Heaven or beaming from His Head.  But, anyway, THIS is what the Mass is, it's funny because not only is this what Jesus saw but this is also how some people actually dress to be go to Mass.  In this picture, He is dead.

Again, though, even on the cross, AS HE WAS DYING, he still gives His Love to people and petitions on behalf of them, it is never about Himself.

I used to pray the Fifth Mystery, each Ave, as His Hands (one each) and feet (both) as they were nailed and then the Seven Words from the Cross.

Yesterday (a week later), I found this more traditional picture:
How heartbreaking it must have been for Magdalene & John!  John, a good kid (obviously fearless), the one who really loved Jesus (and was truly loved by Jesus, looked on maybe as a little brother or a son) and probably listened to every word He said, now to see his life, his Master and Teacher and Friend dying.  Same for Magdalene: the one Man who saw her and truly loved Her; she cared so much for Him and not for herself that she was so devoted to Him even at His death.  She finally loved somebody more than herself and he was being taken away.

They cannot intervene, they can only share in His misery and be with Him.

On a side note, a final note, to compliment the first picture in Mystery 2, Station 14: Jesus Laid In The Tomb; there are a few pictures of this Station that make me take pause because there is a burial shroud over His Body, up to His Torso, I think, but, the side of His body is exposed.  One sees His naked Leg.  No undergarment.  He died, pathetically, stripped of everything, and He is interred this way.  Hidden.

Where did you find God?*   Uniformity With God's Will by St. Alphonsus de Liguori

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