Traditionally, these last two weeks of Lent are known as Passiontide, and in the traditional Roman rite before Vatican II this past Sunday was known as Passion Sunday, making this week Passion Week, a time to enter more deeply into meditation and contemplation of Christ’s Sorrowful Passion as we prepare for Holy Week. We are getting closer to the time of our redemption and it is fitting to prepare for this by spending time meditating on the sufferings Jesus endured to win this salvation for us and the love with which He did it.
Catholic traditions and meditations are a great way to begin and guide your own meditation on the Passion of Our Lord:
- The Sorrowful Mysteries of the Rosary focus on the Sorrowful Passion beginning with Jesus’s agony in the Garden of Gethsemane and ending with His Crucifixion and Death. You can read my reflections on the Sorrowful Mysteries here.
- The Stations of the Cross focus on the particular events that occurred during the 4th Sorrowful Mystery, the Carrying of the Cross. There are many books and devotionals that provide reflections and prayers for each station, and one of the most popular is the Way of the Cross with prayers and reflections by St. Alphonsus Liguori. I will share that with you tomorrow or next week.
Given our current situation because of Covid-19, uniting our inconveniences and sufferings with Christ’s is a way to actively participate in His Passion and enrich our meditations. Not being able to be with loved ones or to be as active as we’d like may be hard or painful, but we can think of a specific aspect of the Passion and unite what we feel to what Christ must have felt. Think of how He was separated from Mary except for those few fleeting moments on the way to Calvary and how He must have wished for Her comfort during all of it. And besides that, He was abandoned by all of His disciples except John, His closest friends. When you feel this loneliness, unite it with Jesus’s loneliness and you will have the assurance that He is with you. And when you feel frustrated or bored because you can’t do as much while quarantined, think of the sadness or even frustration of Jesus while enduring His sufferings. Even though He willingly submitted to it all, it was undoubtedly exceedingly painful for Him to endure such mockery and torment from His own creatures who were so ignorant. Unite your frustrations to Jesus’s and be with Him in those moments.
Most of us have probably been going to Holy Week liturgies since we were little. And even though it will be difficult to not be able to actually be in church for Holy Week this year (trust me, I love the Sacred Triduum liturgies so this is gonna suck), we can also unite this suffering to Christ’s and be present through the media. The liturgies will still have the same meaning and effect, and we can apply ourselves to them spiritually just like we’ve been doing on Sundays. This sacrifice can be united to the Cross of Christ and bear fruit even though we are not physically present.
Our Passiontide this year is going to be different. We can use traditional meditations as well as our current sufferings to unite ourselves to Christ’s Passion and make the most of difficult circumstances.