A rainbow appears over the Monstrance on Palm Sunday 4/5/20 at Saint Philip Catholic Church in Franklin, TN invoking the awe, wonder and reverence of the Eucharistic Lord.
Now Jesus loved Martha and her sister and Lazarus. So when he heard that he was ill, he remained for two days in the place where he was. John 11:5-6
During the 5th week of Lent we heard the story of the raising of Lazarus. It’s an odd story because we see that Jesus was sent word that Lazarus was ill, and the Gospel tells us, “Now Jesus loved Martha and her sister and Lazarus,” but instead of going to them he waited two more days. Why, if Jesus loved them, would he wait two more days before going? The scripture tells us in the previous line, that it is for the glory of God, so that the Son of Man may be glorified.
We can all perhaps think to ourselves, well Jesus is going to raise him from the dead, so that is how the Son of Man will be glorified. And that is true. But it isn’t the full story. I pressed God on this in my prayer, “Why did Jesus wait?” My friend Ashley had told me part of the reason, and that is, it was more important to Jesus to do the will of the Father, than it was to go be with his friends. Jesus was always obedient to the will of the Father first and foremost above all else. So in obedience He waited.
“But God,” I said, “why did the Father want him to wait? Why did the Father want Martha and Mary to suffer Lazarus death?” And then it hit me. There was something that was holding Martha and Mary back from total abandonment to God. There was something that Martha and Mary were attached to that God wanted to purify them of and it was only through experiencing the death of their brother that they would be purified. I don’t know what their attachment was, it could have been Lazarus himself, but whatever it was, the death of Lazarus made them totally surrender to God. And so, it was because Jesus loved them that he waited. And Jesus wept because this suffering was the only way they would totally trust God alone and have no other idols. And the Son of Man could be glorified, in them. We later see Mary’s total abandonment when she anoints the feet of Jesus with costly perfume and dries them with her hair, much to the dismay of Judas who is steeped in sin. Mary has given Jesus everything.
The other day I had a conversation about the Stations of the Cross. My friend wanted to know about the 15th Station – the Resurrection. Being the lover of tradition that I am, I gave her a lesson on how there are only 14 Stations of the Cross as set by Pope Clement XII in 1730 to commemorate the Passion and Death and that the Resurrection was not part of the Stations. I told her it wasn’t really until the last 50 years or so that we saw this 15th Station pop up because some people wanted to end the Station of the Cross on a happy note. And we continued our conversation about this and why the original stations would not have included the Resurrection. Jesus himself waited. He waited 3 days before the Resurrection. He didn’t skip past the suffering. He let them sit in it. It was God’s will for them. Why?
We are meant to sit in it. We are meant to pause. The Saints and holy people tell us one of the greatest tragedies is that people do not meditate on or ponder the Passion. They skip straight to the Resurrection in an effort to be comfortable with the story and then miss the depth of what He did. And we miss the deepest wounds inside of us being healed. It’s in the depth of those wounds, the ones that often keep us from God alone, the depths of our sin, the depths of our unforgiveness, the depths of our idolatry, that God wants to go to to heal us. It is in the Passion and death, and in pondering that, that we see the lengths that God goes to in order to heal us and set us free. When we skip straight to the Resurrection we aren’t abandoning ourselves and our crosses to God. We need him to wait because it’s good for us.
When I ponder the Passion, I weep at the suffering, and I want to repent of my sin. I want to hand over every idol I have to God. I want to repair the damage I have done. Without the Passion, I don’t know if I would, in fact I know I wouldn’t. When I look at the Passion and I see the love Jesus has for me, I weep in sorrow, I repent, I make reparation, and I invite Christ in me. I become a conduit of His love, so that the Son of Man can be glorified. The suffering is the only way I would see it because I have been blinded by the world. The suffering wakes me up and unveils the depths of God’s love for me.
And so here we are in the middle of a pandemic. And I find myself thinking this pandemic will lift when we fall prostrate before the Lord and change the way we live. When we begin to reverence sincerely with the awe and wonder the Eucharist that has been taken from us; when we stop murdering our unborn children; when our leaders become transparent about the sexual abuse and the unchaste lives often promoted in our seminaries; when they stop covering up and stop caring more about the world than they do our souls; when we stop the damage to the family unit; when we love our fellow man like Christ does; when we bow down in humility at the God who loves us and wants to prosper us, that’s when this will end. When we realize all the goodness of God alone and stop putting everything else before him. He is the Lord our God, who is LOVE, and we shall have no other Gods besides Him. When we have other Gods besides Him, we suffer but in the suffering we often realize all the gifts He has given us and we get to choose, will we turn back and TRUST, or will we walk the path to destruction. The choice is ours to make. If we turn back, his mercy is ours, he gives it freely. Until we repent of these things, he waits; waits for us to trust Him.
For the sake of His sorrowful Passion, have mercy on us and on the whole world.
Jesus, Jesus, Jesus, I trust in you.
Thanks for this beautiful post, and the concluding words of St. Faustia.
I have been in the tomb of Christ, inside the Church of the Holy Sepulchre in Israel. It is a peaceful place. It has an altar in it, and flowers.
And, then, I walked out of the tomb, in fresh gratitude for Christ’s sacrifice for us.
I wish you a blessed Holy Week. Yes, for the sake of his sorrowful passion, have mercy on us, and on the whole world.
Have a Blessed Holy Week.
Another thought I read somewhere is that Jesus had to hold off until Lazarus was thoroughly dead before raising him, because the Pharisees were saying that the other raisings (eg the 12 year old girl) were really resuscitations, and Jesus needed to manifest this power beyond a shadow of a doubt. Because of this, as you said, Jesus had to wait in obedience, and his weeping had to do with the human suffering (and purification) that takes place while we are waiting for both God to act and us to more fully surrender so that He CAN act.
The depth of God is beyond what we can imagine.
Thank you for all of the wonderful posts and the putting gup the work of you friend Ashley Blackburn. I am going to email you with a prayer request that, in your charity, I ask Jansen, you and Ashley to pray for. I need to keep the person confidential.
By the way, a blog you might like is Mary O’Reagan’s: Mary’s Blog the Path Less Taken, Wonderful traditional Irish Catholic piety.
A holy healthy and happy holy week to you and yours!
Yes James. Thanks. Hope you’re safe and well.
Christ Our Passover has been sacrificed for us, therefore let us keep the Feast !
I praise the Precious Blood of JESUS, the Lamb of God who heals the infirmities of my body.
I praise the Precious Blood of JESUS, the Lamb of God who heals the infirmities of my soul.
I praise the Precious Blood of JESUS, the Lamb of God who heals the infirmities of my mind.
I adore the Blood of the Lamb in its power of forgiveness and pardon.
I adore the Blood of the Lamb in its power of healing.
I adore the Blood of the Lamb in its power of purification.
I adore the Blood of the Lamb in its power of protection.
I adore the Blood of the Lamb in its power of renewal and restoration.
I praise the Precious Blood of Jesus Christ who sets me free from all slavery and servitude.
I praise the Precious Blood of Jesus Christ who is stronger than my own corruptible blood.
I praise the Precious Blood of Jesus Christ who transforms me in His own image.
I praise the Precious Blood of Jesus Christ who makes of me a New Creation.
Glory be to the Precious Blood of Jesus Christ who delivers me from the powers of evil.
Glory be to the Precious Blood of Jesus Christ who triumphs over my enemies.
Glory be to the Precious Blood of Jesus Christ who protects me from the wiles of satan.
Glory be to the Precious Blood of Jesus Christ who clothes me in the white robe of the Wedding Feast of the Lamb.
Glory be to the Precious Blood of Jesus Christ who makes all things new.
Jesus says to Luisa on the subject of PRIVATION of HIS PRESENCE:
“My daughter, you are wrong – the privation of Me is not separation, but pain. You are right in saying that it is more than mortal, but this pain has the virtue, not of separating, but of joining with stronger and more stable bonds the inseparable union with Me. Not only this, but each time the soul remains as though without Me, with no guilt on her part, I rise again for her to new life of knowledges, allowing Myself to be comprehended more with more love, loving her more, and with new grace, to enrich her and embellish her more. And she rises again to new Divine Life, to new love and to new beauty; because it is justice that, since the soul suffers mortal pains, she be substituted with new Divine Life. If it were not so, I would let Myself be surpassed by the love of the creature, which cannot be.”
As I read this words I thought of Saint Mary Magdalen, who lived in a cave without much human contact for some 30 years in Provence, France at la Sainte Baume. It is said that she received the Most Holy Eucharist delivered to her daily by the hands of Holy Angels. In fact, Our Lord’s words to her at the tomb on Easter Morning were very prophetic : “Do not cling to Me ” , He said. He knew that she would need to become accustomed to not seeing Him other than with her spiritual eyes. He knew she would be making decades of spiritual Communions with Him for the rest of her life. It seems to me that Saint Mary Magdalen is truly an EXCELLENT intercessor for us in the Communion of Saints this night , as we enter into the Triduum with the Last Supper liturgy and contemplate the degrees of PRIVATION :
The Disciples saw Him in person. The Church has seen Him in the Eucharist. And now, we are being taken to another level of Privation where even His Eucharistic Presence has been removed from us. IF we read carefully His Words to Luisa, we will see that this is in fact a great , great , great GIFT . Let us take advantage of God’s mysterious ways and permit Him to increase in us the LONGING FOR HIS PRESENCE. IS this not the very substance and essence of the CENACLE?
Jesus, WE HUNGER AND WE THIRST FOR YOU ! MARANA THA !
Thank you Lucy