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Reflections on the Passion of Our Lord Jesus Christ Part 5

by Plinio Corrêa de Oliveira

Ninth Reflection

“And when they came to the place which is called Calvary, they crucified Him there.” (Luke 23:33)

 

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Prior to the crucifixion, we can imagine the infinite beauty of Our Lord, the beauty of His physique and the luminosity of His Sacred Face, where the aesthetic principles of the universe resided. The grace of His gestures, the elegance of His bearing, the sobriety of His manners and goodness must have exerted a strong attraction. When He spoke, who could imagine the tone of His voice, its inflections and unique capacity of expression?

 

But when He was nailed to the cross, He was deformed, without beauty, and one massive, bloody wound. This great victim was innocence itself. He had never sinned. He was the personification of virtue. He never had the need to make up for anything, but nonetheless, did so without measure.

 

Why?–because of the gravity of our sins. We should feel deep sorrow and regret at the sight of Him, the Innocent One Who bore sins with the sinner. He Who was most pure, most sacred, carried them for me! This should stir us to a great trust. One who was redeemed at such a price need only ask to obtain the necessary grace to practice virtue and the good that will lead him to Heaven.

 

Today, Our Lord’s pains are caused by the blasphemies and scorn against the Catholic Church, as well as the worship of the idols of a pagan society: egalitarianism, sensuality, revolt, impurity, murder, theft, adultery. Which of God’s commandments are not transgressed today? What is my attitude in face of this situation?

 

Facing my sins and the insufficiency of my atonement, I must kneel, strike my breast, and firmly resolve to sin no more.

 

Tenth Reflection

“When Jesus therefore had seen His mother and the disciple standing whom He loved, He said to His mother: ‘Woman, behold thy son.’ After that, He said to the disciple: ‘Behold thy mother.’ And from that hour, the disciple took her into his home.” (John 19:26-27)

 

Saint John the Evangelist was at the foot of the cross also representing a sort of summit. His love had reached a high point. He was the beloved disciple.

 

On Holy Thursday, he had rested his head on Our Lord’s breast and heard the pulses of the Sacred Heart of Jesus then beating with love for all mankind. Later that night, just as the other apostles, he had slept and fled. However, he was the virgin Apostle, the beloved Apostle, and virgin souls, even in deplorable situations, find the means and strength to fulfill their duty.

 

On the other hand, God protects virgin souls. God attracts virgins to Himself. Thus, not only did Saint John have the honor of being the disciple of love, but also of being present at that summit of love when Our Lord died on the Cross. In this way he represented all the Apostles and rescued the Apostolic College from complete disgrace.

 

Furthermore, in this zenith of love he received the ultimate reward, because there can be no greater gift than for a person to receive Our Lady as a present. When Our Lord said, “Woman, behold your son,” and then to Saint John, “Behold your mother,” he received a priceless gift.

 


 

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Go to:  Part VI

Quote of the day

DAILY QUOTE for July 24, 2021

It is easy to infuse a most fervent devotion into others, ev...

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July 24

 

It is easy to infuse
a most fervent devotion into others, even in a short time;
but the great matter is
– to persevere.

St. Philip Neri


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Saint of the day

SAINT OF THE DAY

St. Charbel Makhlouf

Multiple times, he successfully lit an oil lamp which was fi...

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St. Charbel Makhlouf

Youssef Antoun Makhlouf was born in the village of Bekka Kafra in Lebanon on May 8, 1828 and was one of five children born to Antoun Zarrour Makhlouf and Brigitta Chidiac. His father was a mule driver who died when Youssef was only three years old, leaving his widow to bring up their children alone.

Although Brigitta was left nearly destitute, she reserved a profoundly religious atmosphere in their home and instilled in her children a deep spirit of piety. Because of this fidelity, Youssef became unusually devoted and inclined to prayer and solitude at a very young age. He was greatly attracted to the life and spirituality of hermits; and as a young boy tending his family’s small flock, he would often go to a nearby grotto where he had erected a little shrine to the Holy Mother of God and would spend his whole day there in prayer.

When he was twenty-three years old, Youssef, feeling the call to the religious life, left his home and family to join the Lebanese Maronite Order at the Monastery of Our Lady in Marfouq. Here he began his formation as a monk before later being transferred to the Monastery of St. Maron near Beirut. There he received the religious habit of the Maronite monk and took the name Charbel. He made his final profession as a religious brother on November 1, 1853 – he was twenty-five years old.

Brother Charbel immediately began his studies for the priesthood under the instruction of Father Nimattullah Kassab, who was also later declared a saint by the Church. Charbel was ordained on July 23, 1859, following which he returned to the Monastery of St. Maron where he lived a life of great austerity. In 1875, he was granted permission by his superiors to live a solitary life in the Hermitage of Sts. Peter and Paul, which was under the jurisdiction of the monastery; and there he resided for the remaining twenty-three years of his life until his death on Christmas Eve, 1898.

St. Charbel is renowned for his many miracles both during his life and after his death. His most famous miracle – which was also his first – occurred when, multiple times, he successfully lit an oil lamp which was filled with water. He is also credited with many healing miracles.

After his death, he was interned at the Monastery of St. Maron, now a famous pilgrimage site. His tomb was often witnessed surrounded by a dazzling light, and to this day his remains are incorrupt and an unexplainable blood-like fluid flows from his body. He was canonized on December 9, 1977, by Pope Paul VI, who held him up as an example to help us understand “in a world, largely fascinated by wealth and comfort, the paramount value of poverty, penance and asceticism, to liberate the soul in its ascent to God.”

Weekly Story

WEEKLY STORY

John shared with me the story of his conversion from Protest...

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Walk to Conversion

In September, I brought the statue of Our Lady of Fatima to the home of Mr. John Black and his family in Kings City, California.  John shared with me the story of his conversion from Protestantism: about thirteen years ago he was visiting one of the 21 Spanish missions in California (though these are holy sites, they also serve as tourist attractions.)

“Who is this Junipero Serra anyways?”  he asked, as the tour guide shared the history of the mission. “Well,” the guide responded, “you are standing on his grave!”  Surprised, John looked down and read inscription on the stone. Sure enough, Blessed Father Junipero Serra was buried right there. “I became electrified,” John told me, “I had to learn more about this man and about the missions.”  The more he studied Blessed Serra, the founder of the first nine missions, the more impressed he became, and he decided to travel on-foot to all 21 missions. 

With the blessing of his wife, now left at home with their two infant sons, John left for his solo expedition, taking with him a single backpack, the bible and little money.  He told me that every mission he visited he felt the presence of someone receiving him, even if the mission was empty. He felt this ambiance in the missions so serene and uplifting, and began to realize it was the real presence of Jesus Christ in the Blessed Sacrament that made him feel so at home.

At one point, John collapsed from exhaustion near a mission run by Franciscans, who kindly hosted him for the night. Before he left the next day, one of the friars gave him a first-class relic of Blessed Serra. Since he was Protestant, John did not know what a relic was, but not wanting to appear rude, he accepted it. Not long after he left the Franciscans, John became lost in the wilderness in the middle of the night. Through his exhaustion and fear he heard a voice say, “Let’s help John.” He had the distinct feeling that Blessed Serra was guiding him, and gathered the strength and courage to continue. About six hours later, he stumbled upon the next mission. “It was kind of a miracle,” he said, “I was really lost!”

During his journey, John slowly came to a realization. “I know what you want from me, God,” he thought to himself one day, “you what me to became a Catholic. That is what this is all about!” However, he still had many questions about aspects of Catholicism that have been rejected by his Protestant faith – mainly about the Blessed Mother. Yet, from that point on he received answers to all of his questions, especially his reservations about devotion to Mary: he believed that it was once again Blessed Serra answering him.

With the help of Blessed Serra, one problem after another was resolved in the solitude of his travels. By the time John reached the final mission, he wholly decided to become a Catholic. “I realized that by having devotion to Mary, you love Our Lord even more,” he told me.

John returned home, filled with zeal and enthusiasm for his newfound faith. He shared his astonishing experiences with his wife, and she too converted. “I feel at home in the Catholic church,” John said, “and I have never loved Our Lord Jesus Christ more than I do now.”

by Joseph Ferrara

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John shared with me the story of his conversion from Protestantism: about fourteen years ago he was visiting one of the 21 Spanish missions in California 

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