We are here – Good Friday – the day Jesus dies for all of us! This is big yet have we really internalize the true meaning of this. It is such a mystery! We still have trouble understanding suffering – even after the cross. Many forget the words of Jesus to his disciples: "Whoever wants to be my disciple must deny themselves and take up their cross and follow me.” Matt. 16:24
Archbishop Fulton Sheen would constantly repeat words related to the scars of Christ and how we too are called to the same in order to receive the victory. Below are paraphrased words taken from a talk he did in the 1940’s on his radio show (The Catholic Hour dated April 21, 1946 when he was a Monsignor). Enjoy!
What do the scars of Jesus teach us? They teach us that life is a struggle: that our condition of a final resurrection is exactly the same as His; that unless there is a cross in our lives, there will never be an empty tomb; unless there is a Good Friday, there will never be an Easter Sunday; unless there is a crown of thorns, there will never be the halo of light; and unless we suffer with Him, we shall not rise with Him.
The scars are not only reminders that life is a warfare, but they are also pledges of victory in that war. Jesus said, “These things I have spoken to you, that in Me you may have peace. In the world you shall have distress: but have confidence, I have overcome the world.”John 16:33 By this He means that He has overcome evil in principle. Evil will never be able to be stronger than it was on that particular day, for the worst thing that evil can do is not to ruin cities and to wage wars and to drop atomic bombs against the good and the living. The worst thing that evil can do is to kill God. Having been defeated in that, in its strongest moment, when evil wore its greatest armor, evil can never be victorious again!
Jesus’ scars and His victory over evil do not give us immunity from: pain, sorrow, disappointments, crucifixion and death. What He offers is not immunity from evil in the physical world, but immunity from sin in our souls. The final conquest of physical evil will come in the resurrection of the just. What He does teach us is to bear the worst this life has to offer with courage and serenity and to regard all of its trials as a share in His own Passion which will transfigure some of life’s greatest pains into the richest gains of the spiritual life.
With St. Paul, we can cry out: “Who then shall separate us from the love of Christ? Shall tribulation: Or distress? Or famine? Or nakedness? Or danger? Or Persecution? Or the sword….but in all these things we overcome because of Him that hath loved us! For I am sure that neither death, nor life, nor angels, nor principalities, nor powers, nor things to come, nor might, nor height, nor depth, nor any other creature shall be able to separate us from the love of God, which is in Christ Jesus Our Lord” Romans 8:35-39
If He, our Leader, wore scars, then must we His soldiers be prepared on the day of the great Judgement when He comes to judge the living and the dead, to show Him the scars we won in His Cause and in His Name. To each of us He will say, “Show Me your hands and your side.” Woe then unto us who come down Calvary with hands unscarred and white without blood!
May we not complain or drag our cross. May we embrace it for His sake and for the sake of the Church which is suffering and losing souls to Hell. May we fight the good fight and keep hope for a final victory. This life is short and the next eternal – do not squander grace.
May Our Lady of Sorrows, Mother of God and Mother of us all – pray for us and guide us to the Cross. May we remember that without Mary we will not make it to the foot of the Cross. May we not run in fear but stand bravely with Her under the foot of the Cross.
"We adore O Christ and we praise You, because by Your Holy Cross You have Redeemed the world!
God bless your Good Friday with many graces!
Bernadette Porter is a Traditional Catholic, a wife of 41 years with 6 adult home-schooled children and 5 grandchildren. A sincere devotion to Mary, the Mother of God leads me to want to share "The Church's best kept secret" - Mary!