Contemplations of the Third Week
The following are the various steps to be used in contemplations in the Third Week. Basically they will remain the same for each contemplation.
1. I will locate myself in the mystery, i.e. recall to my mind the events leading up to the mystery I am preparing to contemplate.
2. I will relate myself to the space?time dimensions of these events, by placing myself in the scene, making it as vivid as possible.
3. I will ask for the grace of an intimate sharing with Jesus Christ ? an empathy, compassion with Him in His agony and suffering.
First Point: To imagine to myself what each person in the scene looked like, what gestures they make, etc.
Second Point: To listen intently to what they say (what is recorded in the Scriptures and also what must have been), and endeavor to derive some insight, motivation or other gain from their words.
Third Point: Focus on what they are doing, and relate and apply it to my own situation so as to profit personally.
Fourth Point: To observe in this Gospel passage what sufferings Jesus wants to accept and which are actually happening. As a consequence, I want to begin here and in the following points to arouse myself to a compassionate bearing of the burden of His distress, sadness and tears.
Fifth Point: To ponder the fact that the Divinity of Christ remains hidden and that He does not destroy His enemies although He could do so, but lets His humanity undergo cruel suffering.
Sixth Point: To understand that Jesus is putting
up with all of this for my sins and me. What then ought I to do to put
up with, for His sake?
A DIALOGUE is opened with Jesus Christ and is
carried on all through the contemplation. The contemplation is concluded
with an Our Father.
In this dialogue it should be kept in mind that we should conduct ourselves and make petitions related to the content of the contemplation, i.e. as I experience consolation or upset; as I am seeking after one particular virtue or another; as I plan to make a decision about this or that alternative; and also depending on whether I want to be glad or sorry about the event contemplated. Finally I should ask about one particular thing I want most of all.
Up to this point I have been a mute spectator on Calvary, but now I am ready to inaugurate my conversation with Christ. I look up again at the tired face of my Lord, and slowly, gently speak to Him.
Dear Jesus, I feel so sorry for You, so terribly saddened at the tortures You have chosen to undergo. Can I offer You some small consolation by telling You that I deeply and gratefully appreciate all You are doing for me? Thank you, Jesus.
I bitterly regret all my sins which have been the cause of Your agony. At the time of the commission of my many sins, I was only concerned with the pleasure and satisfaction I could derive from them; the sadness they caused Your heart did not in the least trouble me. Now, standing in the shadow of the cross, I view things in a new light: sin is not delightful, it is horrible. I firmly promise You - with Your help, for I am so weak - to eradicate sin from my life. You have stated that if we love You, we will keep Your commandments, I do love You, Jesus, and I do want to obey Your commandments.
"Greater love than this no man has...” Yes Jesus, You have demonstrated to me beyond any shadow of a doubt that You deeply and truly love me. Your wounds are trophies of Your love for me. Can I ever doubt Your love, Your tender concern for me? I, on my part, must reciprocate this love: I must constantly and continually demonstrate my affection and regard for You.
I delight in having found so good a friend in You, Christ. All my other loves and affections pale in the face of this tremendous love existing between You and me. I love you, Jesus; I love you above all other persons and things.
In this intimacy of heart between Christ and myself, I pause, gazing upon Him, and silently offer my love to Him. I continue in this attitude of affectionate attention to Christ for some minutes; but soon distracting thoughts protrude themselves into my mind - I have lost contact with Christ.
I stop myself and refocus on the cross. I listen to the good thief on the cross and Christ speaking to him: "Amen, I say to you that this day you shall be with me in paradise."
Jesus, You are thoughtful and considerate to this poor criminal even in the moment of Your most intense anguish. This incident lays open to me new facets of the basic goodness of You. I, too, like the good thief stand in need of pardon, and a promise of heaven. The compelling desire of my life is that one-day You may say to me: "This day you shall be with me in paradise." I ardently desire to live in paradise with you and enjoy the wonder of Your companionship forever. As I stand here looking up into Your tired eyes soon to close in death, I want to assure You of three things: my sincere sorrow for my past, my abiding love for You, and my heartfelt desire to live with You in paradise.
The time allotted for my meditation is coming to a rapid close. I want to thank You, Jesus, for allowing me to spend these moments of companionship with You. I sincerely appreciate the assistance you have given me to negotiate a successful meditation.
Looking quickly back over my meditation, I note some failings insofar as I was remiss in promptly banishing distraction. I promise a greater diligence in the future.
"Lord, remember me when You come into You kingdom."
Good mother, Mary: pray for me. Amen.