Oblate Program at Belmont Abbey, NC

The great forgiving

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crucifixion-el-greco_webThere are some who tell me that they love Holy Week,
who am I to disagree with them if that is so,
in my opinion they are lucky to have that feeling,
for me however,
all I can say if truth be told,
is
I hate Holy Week,
my soul feels like lead,
heavy,
perhaps it is pain,
but I get to the point where I just want it to be over
while my teeth grind
as I seek to bear the dark oppression of the passion.
Perhaps it is because Holy Week is about the human condition
what is most feared
or perhaps what I most fear
and seek to flee from.
Abandonment by those I trust,
betrayal of loved ones,
to be abused
physically
and
emotionally,
mocked and dealt with contempt,
to be discounted,
perhaps
this is why I hate Holy Week,
for the passion
deals with what is dreaded by me in my inner depths often hidden,
but
during holy week it comes out parading before me
my fears of what the future holds;
my own inability to see or prevent what will be.
 Jesus embraced it though not without great pain and sacrifice
while I run and seek to hide,
from what I fear more than death,
for death
is simply that,
an ending,
the passion however,
Jesus’ death was pure in your face horror and terror.
All levels affected by what happened,
the sweating of blood,
the beating when arrested
in which he did not defend himself,
the scourging,
cat o nine tails an instrument of genius
three for the price of one when it came to pain,
ripping into flesh,
flaying without mercy,
then
the crowning of thorns,
the mocking of his divinity by those who did not know or understand,
being rejected
while a murderer being chosen instead of the innocent one,
the cross beam,
the falling and rising again,
the meeting of his mother on the way,
the nails,
thirst,
body stretched,
suffocation and the pushing up to breathe
which only doubled the pain and suffering involved,
thirst,
the vinegar
and
most heart breaking of all,
the great forgiving
of those who caused all of this,
a forgiving that encompassed all of mankind,
from the distant past,
to the present
and the far flung future,
then finally when no more could be born by his abused body,
blessed death,
a cold tomb,
the body no longer feels nor suffers
so yes
no wonder I hate Holy Week
for our own lives are somehow lived out by the Word made Flesh,
Jesus becoming what we love to do,
find a scapegoat,
well we did,
he was it
and now
there is no more need for a scapegoat,
yet that lesson not yet learned by a species slow and irrational,
yet perhaps the miracles of miracles,
loved
by the infinite.
 
I fear the passion in my own life
in a world where justice is never achieved really,
where the innocent suffer,
are tortured,
killed,
along with the guilty,
though in this world the innocent suffer more
their numbers greater by legion,
with little compassion or empathy from others
apathy a good defense against pain,
yes that is what Passion Week is for me and I dread its coming every year.
 
The word
taking on what is often fled from by me,
showing me my soul
stretched on the cross wounded by my sin,
seeking only one thing
to forgive
for we know what we do.
Br. Mark Dohle, OCSO
Holy Spirit Monastery
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