the stations and other graphic depictions of the Passion of Christ rather gory and unpleasant. Shouldn't we focus more on the Resurrection?
As a young priest, I was once accosted by a man who told me that I should not look so solemn because Christ is risen. I was in fact returning from a visit to the . hospital to anoint a young woman who was dying of liver failure. She had taken an overdose of paracetamol because she could not bear the abuse to which her stepfather was subjecting her.
We should be aware of the suffering and sadness that there is in the world as well as the joys and hopes that we encounter. Both of these dimensions of our daily experience are addressed in the Church's liturgical seasons. • We celebrate both Passiontide, and FAstertide, focusing on the suffering and death of Our Blessed Lord and on his triumph and glory. The Church speaks of the "Paschal Mystery" of Our Lord's Passion. death and Resurrection. The Eucharistic Prayers all include the memorial of these mysteries in the prayer after the consecration that is called the anamnesis. This word means that they are not merely remembered as historical events but also made present in the Mass.
There are many ways that we can draw fruit from meditating upon the "gory and unpleasant" sufferings of Christ. St Alphonsus, in his meditations for the Stations of the Cross, speaks of how our sins have contributed to Our Lord's sufferings. By devoutly considering his condemnation, his falls, his pain and his death, we are motivated to detest our sins and to pray for the grace to resist temptation. By considering the infmite love of God who suffered for us, we are inspired to love him in return through our prayers, penance and works of charity.
The sufferings of Christ can also be related to the sufferings of others in the world. We know of the destruction of human life through abortion and euthanasia, the misery caused by immorality, by poverty, famine and other forms of injustice. Devotion to the Passion of Christ can be helpful in prompting us to work for the relief of suffering and the establishment of the Kingship of Christ in our families and in society.
What's your view? And do you have a dilemma of your own? Write to us at the address on this page or e-mail [email protected] catholicherald.co.uk