If we really love Jesus as Our Lord, God, Savior, and friend then we should have a firm desire to follow Jesus in His public life where He performs miracles, casts out demons and preaches simple but profound sermons. However, if we are not to be one of the proverbially fair-weather friends—meaning faithful only when the sun shines—then we must be willing to walk with the Lord in His sufferings, His Passion, His crucifixion and the shedding of His Precious Blood.
Therefore, we offer for your reading, pondering, prayer and meditation ten specific ways that you can walk close to Jesus in His Passion, console Him, comfort Him, accompany Him this Holy Week. Here is the list of ten!
1. Read the Gospel Passion Narratives
Go to the most authentic sources to meditate upon and to contemplate the Passion narratives. These would be the four Gospels: Matthew Chapters 26 & 27, Mark Chapters 14 & 15, Luke Chapters 22 & 23, John Chapters 18 & 19. Pray, read, meditate, ponder, reflect on and contemplate the love that Jesus had for you and for the whole world.
2. Meditation Through Film
This week would be the most opportune time to view the classical movie of Jesus’ suffering directed by Mel Gibson, The Passion of the Christ. However, do not view it as simply a Hollywood rendition, some ordinary movie. Rather, view it as a prayer, as a contemplation, as a tool to walk step by step with Jesus as did Mary, His Sorrowful Mother.
3. Another Movie: Miracle of Marcelino
The touching movie Miracle of Marcelino definitely can help you to enter into the Passion, suffering and death of Jesus with the love and heart of a child. Jesus stated: “Unless you become like a little child, you cannot enter the Kingdom of Heaven.” (Mt. 18:3) Now it is your turn: try to talk to Jesus in a simple and childlike manner.
Console Jesus with your words and your presence. Thank Jesus and tell Him from the depths of your heart how much you earnestly desire to love Him more and more, aware of how much He loves you.
4. The Way of the Cross
One of the most efficacious practices of devotion and piety for centuries is to make, better said, to pray The Way of the Cross. Walk with Mary and the Magdalene on the Via Dolorosa that culminates in the Crucifixion of Jesus, which He underwent for love of you and love of me! How precious you are in the eyes of Jesus in that He suffered all of His Passion and death for the salvation of your immortal soul!
5. The Five Sorrowful Mysteries of the Most Holy Rosary
Take each of the Sorrowful Mysteries and contemplate them with great depth—beginning with the Agony of Jesus in the Garden, Scourging at the Pillar, Crowning with Thorns, Carrying of the Cross, leading up to Jesus’ Crucifixion and death.
6. Meditate on the Seven Last Words of Jesus From the Cross
Venerable Archbishop Fulton J. Sheen, for many years in New York City would give his famous Sermon on the Seven Last Words of Jesus from the Cross. What are they?
- “Father forgive them for they know not what they are doing.” (Lk. 23:34)
- “I thirst!” (Jn. 19:28)
- “My God, My God why have you forsaken me?” (Mt. 27:46)
- “Woman behold thy son; son behold thy Mother.” (Jn.19: 26-27)
- “Amen I say to you: today you will be with me in Paradise.” (Lk. 23:43)
- “Into your hands I commend my spirit.” (Lk. 23:46)
- “It is finished!” (Jn. 14:30)
Kneel or sit before a Crucifix and slowly repeat these seven words, these seven short sentences. Pray over them; relish them, take them to heart; memorize them; live them out in your life.
7. Meditate and Contemplate the Seven Sorrows of Mary
Among the many titles attributed to the Blessed Virgin Mary is that of Our Lady of Sorrows. This pious devotion, starting with the Franciscans, has been to pray over and contemplate the Seven Sorrows of Mary. Pope Saint John Paul II in his Apostolic Letter The Blessed Virgin Mary and the Rosary exhorts the lovers of Jesus and Mary to Contemplate the Face of Jesus through the eyes and Heart of Mary.”
Mary willingly suffered in the depths of her Sorrowful and Immaculate Heart what Jesus suffered physically in His Sacred Body, His Sacred Flesh, which Mary gave to Him in His Incarnation. Therefore, these are the seven sorrows of Mary:
- Prophecy of Simeon in the Temple. (Lk. 2:34-35)
- Flight of Joseph, Mary and the Infant Jesus into Egypt. (Mt. 2:13-18)
- The Loss and Finding of the Child Jesus in the Temple. (Lk. 2:41-51)
- Jesus meets Mary on the Via Dolorosa—on the Calvary walk. (4th Station of the Cross)
- Jesus is crucified with Mary present. (Jn. 19:16-37)
- Jesus’ Crucified Body is taken from the Cross and placed in the arms of Mary. (La Pieta)
- Jesus’ Crucified Body is taken from the arms of Mary and buried. (Jn. 19:38-42)
Spend some time with Our Lady of Sorrows, and through her eyes and heart contemplate the sufferings and sorrows of her Son Jesus. Strive to console both!
8. Contemplate Jesus on the Cross— The Crucifix
Now in the silence of your room, spend some time simply gazing at Jesus hanging on the cross for love of you, your family, and the salvation of your immortal soul. Then rise and with love, tenderness, and devotion kiss the wounds in His hands; kiss the wounds in His feet; kiss the wound in His side from which flowed Blood and Water. Tell Jesus how much you really love Him, and how you desire to love Him more and more every day of your life until you die and pass from time into eternity!
9. Read a Good Commentary
There are many on the Passion of Christ. But truly worthy of reading and meditation is the Dolorous Passion of Our Lord Jesus Christ by Blessed Anne Catherine Emmerich, a German Mystic and Stigmatist.
Any legitimate source that we can utilize to enhance our knowledge and love of Jesus in His Passion is worth pursuing!
10. “Repent and Believe in the Good News” (Mk. 1:15)
This was the first preaching of Jesus in His public life. These are the words that the priest might have pronounced when he imposed ashes on your forehead on Ash Wednesday, at the very commencement of the Season of Lent. These words of Jesus, inscribed in ashes on our forehead, set in motion Lent and the daily challenge for every follower of Christ.
That is to say, we are all called on a daily basis to be converted from sin. How? Jesus invites and challenges us to change our mind-set; as Saint Paul says to “put on the mind of Christ” (Phil 2:5), to have a fresh way of thinking, feeling, and acting. Our daily conversion comes about through a firm determination in the depths of our soul to renounce sin and to contemplate and imitate Jesus who is truly the Way, the Truth, and the Life.
Therefore, if we sincerely want to follow Jesus Christ in His Suffering, Passion and Death we must make a concerted effort to put to death all that is earthly, carnal, base and sinful in us. Then we must aspire to what is noble, pure, holy and worthy of praise in the eyes of God.
May Our Lady, the Mother of God, the Mother of the Church, and Our Lady of Sorrows intercede for us now and at the hour of our death. Amen.