Friday, 30 March 2012

The women of Jerusalem weep for Jesus

Continuing our meditation on the Way of the Cross taken from,The Way of the Cross with the Curé of Ars written by Mgr Keith Barltrop, Veronica wipes the face of Jesus.

We adore you, O Christ, and we bless you.
Because by your holy cross you have redeemed the world.

There followed a great multitude of the people, and of women who bewailed and lamented him. But Jesus turning to them said, "Daughters of Jerusalem, do not weep for me, but weep for yourselves and for your children. For if they do this when the wood is green, what will happen when it is dry?" Luke 23:27,28,31

"Sunt lacrimae rerum" – there will always be things to weep over, as the Roman poet Virgil said. The question is, what shall we weep for? When we truly follow Jesus on his way of the cross, even our emotions undergo a change, and what we love, hate, are happy about and weep for is taken up into an ongoing process of conversion.

The Curé was told on being appointed to Ars: there is not much love of God in that parish. That gave him something to weep over, and towards the end of his life, when his teeth were falling out and his words became unclear, all he could often do in his homilies was to shed copious tears, as he pointed to the tabernacle and repeated over and over again,

"He is there! He is there!"

Can we see beneath the surface of our contemporary world, with all its hype and glamour, to weep with Jesus for the emptiness of a life lived without him, for the tragedy of rejecting the greatest love we could ever be offered?

"Tell me, my friend, what harm has Our Lord done you that you treat him like this? Even animals do not forget the kindness shown them, but Christians forget the goodness of a God who has loved them so much."


Father, as we continue with your Son on his way to the cross, cleanse the depths of our hearts, so that we rejoice at what makes you glad, and weep for what saddens you. Unite us ever more closely with the merciful heart of your Son, who gave himself for us sinners, and is alive and reigning with you and the Holy Spirit, God for ever and ever. Amen.

Our Father…

For the sins of His own nation
Saw Him hang in desolation
Till His spirit forth He sent.

Vidit suum dulcem Natum
Moriendo desolatum,
Dum emisit spiritum.

Picture © John Salmon, Stations of the Cross in the parish church St Silas, Kentish Town, London
Text © St Pauls Publishing