Today is the beginning of Holy Week. Soon we will celebrate the death of our Lord Jesus Christ, looking forward with anticipation to Resurrection Sunday morning.
As I think about Christ’s last week before the cross, Fr. Richard Roar’s prayer, found in his lecture series “On Transformation”, has become quite poignant and revealing to me.
I would encourage you to pour yourself a cup of tea, sit down and read this slowly and thoughtfully. May it draw you, just a little bit closer, into the wonder of Christ and His Passion, which we celebrate this week.
The crucified Jesus speaking:
My people, I am yourself,
I am your beauty,
I am your goodness,
which you are destroying.
I am what you do to what you should love.
I am what you are afraid of;
your deepest, and your best and most naked self, your soul.
Your badness largely consists in what you do to goodness,
your own and others. And that is bad.
You are afraid of the Good, you are afraid of Me.
You kill what you should love; you hate what could transform you.
I am Jesus crucified. I am yourself, and I am all of human history.
Speaking to the crucified Christ:
Lord Jesus crucified,
You are my life, and you are also my death.
You are my beauty, you are my possibility.
You are my full self.
You are everything I want and you are everything I am afraid of.
You are everything I desire and you are everything I deny.
You are my outrageously ignored and neglected soul.
Lord Jesus, Your love is what I most fear.
I can’t let anybody love me for nothing.
Intimacy with You or anyone terrifies me.
I am beginning to see,
that I in my own body am an image of what is happening everywhere,
and I want it to stop here today.
I want to stop the violence toward myself,
toward the world,
toward You, crucified Lord.
I don’t need, ever again, to create any victims.
You alone, Lord Jesus, You refuse to be crucifier,
even at the cost of being crucified.
And You never ask for sympathy.
You never play the victim.
You never ask for vengeance.
But you only breathe forgiveness.
We, we in this fearful earth,
The rest of us, we murder, we mistrust, we attack.
Now I see that it is not You that humanity hates.
We hate ourselves, but mistakenly kill you.
I must stop crucifying your blessed flesh
on this earth and in my brothers and sisters.
Now I see that You live in me and I live in You.
You are inviting me out of this endless cycle of allusion
You are Jesus crucified.
You are saving me.
In your perfect Godly love,
you have chosen to enter into union with me.
I thank You Lord Jesus for becoming a human being.
so I don’t have to pretend or try to be a god.
I thank You Lord Jesus for becoming finite and limited,
so I don’t have to pretend that I am infinite and limitless.
I thank You crucified God for becoming mortal,
so I don’t have to make myself immortal.
I thank You Lord Jesus for becoming inferior,
so I do not have to pretend that I am superior to anyone.
I thank You for being crucified outside the walls,
for being expelled and excluded like the sinners,
so I don’t have to be a saint.
I thank You for becoming week,
so I don’t have to be strong.
I thank You for being willing, to being considered imperfect and strange,
so I do not have to be perfect and normal.
I thank You Lord Jesus for being willing to be disapproved,
so I do not have to try so hard to be approved and liked.
I thank You for being considered a failure,
so I don’t have to give my life trying to pretend I am a success.
I thank You for being wrong by the standards of religion and state,
so I don’t have to be right anywhere.
I thank You for being poor in every way,
so I don’t have to be rich in any way.
I thank You Lord Jesus for being all of the things that humanity despises and fears,
so I can love myself and others in You.
So I can love in You, who by Your humanity have identified Yourself with me,
at that very point where I most hate myself.
Crucified Jesus, I thank you for becoming a human being.
I want to love You. I need to love You.
Lord Jesus crucified,
You and I,
We are the same!