Sunday Meditation – The Suffering of Christ

“Our own sufferings give us a partial insight into the sufferings of Christ Jesus. In our prosperity we pass by the cross. The story of Christ’s passion stirs our hearts for him, but the pity and passion are quickly gone. But let God pinch our flesh with some sore affliction, fill our bones with pain, and set us on fire with a burning fever; let our feet be hurt in stocks, and iron enters our souls. We look upon him they have pierced and say: ‘If the chips of the cross are this heavy, what was the cross itself? If my bodily pains are so bitter, what were the agonies the Lord sustained in his soul? If the wrath of man is so piercing, what must the wrath of God be?’ Is it a heart-piercing affliction to be deserted by friends? What was it then for the Son of God’s love to be deserted by his Father? Is a chain so heavy, a prison so loathsome, and the sentence of death so dreadful? O what was it for him who made heaven and earth to be bound, mocked, abused, spit upon, buffeted, reviled, cast into prison, arraigned, condemned, and executed in a most shameful and accursed manner! O what was it for him to endure all this contradiction of sinners, the rage of the devil, and the wrath of God, to cry out, ‘My God, my God, why have you forsaken me?’ He had done no violence, nor was any deceit found in his mouth. Blessed be God, my prison is not hell, my burnings are not unquenchable flames, my cup is not filled with wrath, and I am delivered from the wrath to come! By our sharing the remainders of his cross, which he has bequeathed to us as a legacy, we may come in some measure to understand the sufferings of Christ, or at least by comparing our sufferings of such vast disproportion to his, we are able to guess at what we cannot understand.”

Thomas Case

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