Feast of the Exaltation of the Holy Cross
“For greater things you were born.” (Ven. Mother Luisita)
Tuesday, September 14th Jn. 3: 13-17 “For God so loved the world that he gave his only Son, so that everyone who believes in him might not perish but might have eternal life. For God did not send his Son into the world to condemn the world, but that the world might be saved through him.”
- The little child asked Jesus, “How much do you love me?” Jesus stretched his arms and hands on the cross and said: “I love you this much!”
FIFTEEN WAYS JESUS CHRIST SUFFERED IN LOVE FOR US… Fr. Ed Broom, OMV
Venerable Archbishop Fulton J. Sheen comments on the many names and titles that we can give for Jesus. Jesus is often called the Way, the Truth, the Life, the Bread of Life, and the Living Water. He might also be called the Lamb of God, the Alpha and Omega, as well as the Good Shepherd.
However, the name that most perfectly exemplifies the purpose of Jesus’s coming and the purpose of His death and Resurrection is that of Savior! Jesus’ mission was to save all of humanity, our immortal souls from the clasp of the devil and the fiery pit of hell.
Jesus went beyond simple actions to save all of humanity, as well as the soul of each and every one of us individually. He went to the extreme limits!
Jesus chose to undergo all of the most excruciating pains of His Passion and death to save all of humanity and that includes your individual soul. How precious you and your soul are in the eyes of Jesus the Lord!
Saint Ignatius of Loyola points out that Jesus went to the extremes of suffering in His Passion for two reasons:
1) To show us the gravity and serious reality of sin—sin nailed the God man to the tree.
2) LOVE. “There is no greater love than to die for the one you love.” Especially Jesus choosing the most humiliating and painful of deaths—that of the Roman crucifixion!
CHRIST SUFFERED FOR LOVE OF US…
Jesus willingly, totally, and lovingly underwent all of the most excruciating pains for the love of you and me. Still more, Jesus would have willing undergone these sufferings if you were the only one in the whole universe.
How precious are you and the salvation of your immortal soul in the eyes of Almighty God!
Spend some time in silence to contemplate these many manners of the suffering of Jesus!
Jesus was sweating blood in the Garden of Gethsemane — all for your soul! Big drops of His Precious Blood trickled to the ground.
Lord, you willingly suffered for our sins out of love!
The defection of His best Friends. He suffered this for your immortal soul. Friends abandoning us when we most need their presence and friendship is bitter indeed.
Lord, have mercy on us when we neglect coming to you in prayer, and in the Sacraments of Confession and Mass and Holy Communion.
3. The Scourging at the Pillar
Jesus was brutally bound, stripped, and then mercilessly whipped to the point that His Sacred Body was reduced to an open, gaping wound. All of this for love, pure love! Pools of His Precious Blood bathed the ground for love of you and me.
Lord, have mercy on us for the times we dressed and acted immorally.
4. The Crown of Thorns
They pressed a crown of sharp and piercing thorns on His head that penetrated His brow and skull, even to His brain. This was the price of our immortal redemption!
Lord, have mercy on us for immoral and sinful thoughts!
5. The Cross
The cross He carried was loaded with all of the sins of the world, including your sins and mine. So heavy was the cross that Jesus fell more than once under the heavy weight.
Lord, forgive us our trespasses.
6. The Wounding of His Shoulder
St. Bernard and other saints have meditated on a very painful wound —the bloody wound from the heavy weight of the cross cutting into His shoulder. Jesus carried your sins and mine, allowing His shoulder to be cut and splintered to the bone, shouldering all of our moral misery.
O Lord, we carry but a splinter of the cross, and you carry the rest!
7. The Weight
The weight of the cross, the sun and heat of the day, caused Jesus to sweat immensely.
O Lord, you bore all this for love of poor sinners.
8. Stripping of His Garments
Jesus approached the top of Mount Calvary, where his crucifixion awaited Him. The soldiers brutally grabbed Him and ripped off His garments. By doing so His wounds were opened again causing blood to pour forth like a stream. Jesus suffered this for the sins against the virtue of modesty and against the virtue of chastity!
O Lord, grant us pure minds, bodies and souls!
Finally Jesus arrived at His destiny — the top of the hill called Calvary. Awaiting Him there was even more intense suffering — that of the crucifixion.
When Jesus’ sacred Hands were nailed to the cross, His precious Blood came gushing forth. His feet were nailed to the cross and once again Blood came gushing forth—all of this to repair for the many times that we have used our hands, feet and members to offend God in many different ways.
Lord, have mercy on us! Lord forgive us! Now, O Lord, I give you my hands and feet to serve you in others!
As Jesus hung between heaven and earth, suffering His last hours in bitter agony, still more sufferings descended upon Him. There were those close to the cross who shouted out bitter words and insults.
Not only did Jesus suffer physical abuse, but also verbal abuse. The angry and bitter words cut into His very heart and soul. However, Jesus did not become bitter. Rather, He responded with these words…
“Father, forgive them, for they know not what they are doing.” (Jn 23:34)
11. Apparent, total abandonment
One of the worst sufferings imaginable is to think that even God has abandoned or forsaken you! Saint John of the Cross explains this in his mystical writings called “The Dark Night of the Soul”.
Jesus experienced this dark night of the soul in the apparent absence of the Face of His eternal Father—at least in His human nature He cried out: “My God, My God why have you abandoned me.” Jesus suffered this willingly for those who have abandoned God by rejecting Him or by giving in to serious sin, another way we reject the Presence of God.
Lord, there is no limit to the suffering you are willing bear for our sins!
12. Unrepentant thief
Until the end, Jesus was working to save souls. One of the thieves, despite the over-flowing mercy of Jesus, hardened his heart all the more. Indeed one of the greatest sufferings of Jesus was to experience His infinite love rejected.
Lord, may our love for you bring comfort to your wounded Heart.
13. Exhaustion! Physically, Jesus lost so much of His Sacred Blood that His breathing became all the more labored. His exhaustion became extreme. Up to the very end, Jesus was giving all He had to save souls.
Jesus, how great is your love of us!
There, underneath the cross, the soldiers shot dice to see who would win the garments of Jesus — with total indifference to the Person and mission of Jesus. How much Jesus suffers to this very day due to religious indifference, apathy and a nonchalant “who-cares” or “whatever” attitude of life.
Jesus came to cast fire in a world cloaked in a dense cloud of indifference! May God have mercy on us for taking Him for granted!!!
Lord Jesus, set my heart on fire for love for you and love for the salvation of immortal souls!
15. Love, but not loved.
Possibly the greatest interior agony of Jesus was the hard and cruel fact of His mission of love being rejected. Jesus gives freedom to every individual on earth. Therefore, He forces Himself on nobody. His love not being accepted, especially His love manifested by His suffering, caused Jesus mortal anguish.
In conclusion, meditate slowly and fervently upon all of the different ways or manners that Jesus willingly suffered for you and the eternal salvation of your immortal soul. Then meditate upon the words of Saint Ignatius of Loyola and act on these words: “What have I done for Jesus Christ? What am I doing for Jesus Christ? What will I do for Jesus Christ?”
May Our Lady, who suffered and offered herself to Jesus for the salvation of countless souls, help us to appreciate more and more the infinite love that God has for your soul and for mine. We have been redeemed, not by gold or silver nor the blood of animals, but by the Precious Blood of Jesus, the Lamb of God who takes away the sins of the world.