Jesus Dies on the Cross
"`If you're the Son of God, come down from that Cross. Come down and we'll believe.' Sure they will believe; they'll believe anything, just no Cross. No mortification, no self-denial." The shrill, piercing cry of the aging Archbishop Fulton J. Sheen ricocheted off the walls of the Church of St. Agnes, in New York City, on Good Friday, April 8, 1977. He continued, "Many say `I'll believe anything! I'll believe He's divine! I will believe in His Church; I will believe in His pontiff, only no Cross! no sacrifice!'"
Archbishop Fulton J. Sheen said "George Bernard Shaw said of the Cross; `It's that that bars the way.' Sure it bars the way. It bars the way to hell!" Could Archbishop Sheen see what was coming upon him, and us, full steam? Could he see the suffering, our Lord Jesus would have to undergo at the hands of those who claimed to love Him? In his last years, when he gave his most powerful retreats to priests, did the Lord give him an insight into the real Agony Jesus suffered in the Garden, the real Agony He suffered on the Cross: the Agony of the great Apostasy, which would take hold so strongly in our Church towards the end of the Twentieth Century? Is that why he cried out so painfully for his Lord, Who is tortured so terribly, by those who love Him?
The walk to Calvary would have been devastating for anyone, but for Jesus, Who had received mortal wounds twice that day, from the crown of thorns, and again from the scourging He received from the Roman guards, it had to be pure agony! By all that's right, He should have been mercifully dead before arriving at the top of this hill.
Our Savior was stripped of His tunic. He was thrown to the ground. Nails - blunt, huge nails more like flat-head spikes were pounded into His Hands and Feet. The pain was unbearable, but Jesus said yes with His silence. [We were present at a Passion Play and the actor who played our Lord cried out in agony, as the soldiers pounded each nail into His Precious Body.] Did You cry out, Jesus as they pierced Your Hands with nails - Hands that had healed, Hands that had reached out to love us, Hands that had welcomed sinners, Hands that had multiplied 5 loaves and 2 fish into enough food to feed close to 15,000 people on the Mount of Beatitudes? Now they were nailing those Hands to a Cross! No more would You heal us, love us, feed us. Wrong! Even as You were bleeding from the excruciating Wounds inflicted on Your Precious Hands, You were setting into motion the ongoing use of Your Hands through the anointed hands of Your Priests and Your faithful followers. Oh Lord, "I adore the Wounds on Your Sacred Head with sorrow deep and true. May every thought I have today be an act of love for You."
"I adore the Wounds on Your Sacred Hands with sorrow deep and true. May every work of my hands today be an act of love for You.
"I adore the Wounds on Your Sacred Feet with sorrow deep and true. May every step I take today be an act of love for You.
"I adore the Wounds on Your Sacred Heart with sorrow deep and true. May every beat of my heart today be an act of love for You." (Bob and Penny's beloved friend and former Pastor, Msgr. Thomas O'Connell, St. Jude's, Westlake Village, California, recites this prayer at every Mass during the Communion meditation.)
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