My God, my God, why have you forsaken me? (Psalm 22: 1)
We adore You, O Christ, and we bless You--
Because by Your Cross, You have redeemed the world!
A brief Way of the Cross
Meditations on the Stations of the Cross
An upside down Way of the Cross
The Way of the Cross according to Saint Francis of Assisi
The Way of the Cross according to Saint Alphonsus Liguori
Suffering and the Cross
Sometimes in the grind of life, we have the tendency to become discouraged by our sinfulness and our lack of progress in the spiritual life. As we trudge on, it often seems as if we are either walking in place or slipping backwards. At such times, we need to take Saint Peter as our Patron Saint!
At the Last Supper, before the "scandal of the Cross" began, Saint Peter was bold in his zeal and love for Jesus: "Though all lose faith in You, I will never lose faith" and again, "Even if I have to die with You, I will never disown You" (Matthew 26:33,35). And so it with us when we first begin following Jesus - like Saint Peter, our zeal knows no limit.
Unfortunately, we are also like Saint Peter in time of trial - by quickly recoiling when loving God becomes difficult. When the world laughs at us, questions us, or accuses us, we often say by our deeds: "I do not know what you are talking about" (Matthew 26:71). When we are found warming ourselves by the fire of sin, afraid to change, intimidated by the Cross, we tooproclaim: "I do not know the Man" (Matthew 26:74).
But the story does not end there . . - what happened next? And the Lord turned and looked straight at Saint Peter." it was a look that pierced his very soul and spoke volumes in a single instant. it was the look of a Friend and it was the very look of God. This gaze of Jesus moved Saint Peter to repentance and humility. Such is the awesome power of the gaze of Jesus!
Every time that we are privileged to come into the Eucharistic Presence of Our Lord, we experience His piercing gaze as well - a gaze that convicts us of our transgressions, leads us to repentance, and brings to life within us a new love for God - a love without limits or fears.
Like good Saint Peter, we need to weep for our sins with contrition that is devoid of discouragement. If our contrition is authentic, we will continue following Christ and loving Him to a greater degree than ever before. If our contrition is true, it will acknowledge the transgression by acknowledging our own weakness. But most of all contrition is authentic when it humbly accepts God's Mercy - a Mercy that endures forever!
Let usthank Jesus for shedding every drop of His Blood to redeem us. Jesus gazes al us from the Cross, with the same merciful gaze that fell upon Saint Peter and led him to repentance. When we look upon the Cross, we see the Precious Blood flowing from the wounds that our sins inflicted upon Our Lord. It is as if Jesus is saying to us from the Cross: "See how much I love you. What wouldn't I do for you? I shed every drop of My Blood for you. Give Me your sins. Give Me your tears. I gaze upon you with love and desire to reign as King of your heart."
As you fight the spiritual battle, never permit a fall to become a permanent stopping point. Tell the Lord that you are sorry, acknowledge your sin, make a humble Sacramental Confession, and accept the Mercy of God. Jesus poured out all of His Precious Blood for you. He died to set you free. Don't remain a slave to sin. With Saint Peter say: "Lord, You know everything; You know that I love You" (John 21:17).
Mother Mary Angelica
"Behold the Lamb of God! Behold Him who takes away the sin of the world!"
"He must increase; I must decrease!" (St John the Baptist)
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