A New Understanding and Experience of Good Friday

Recently, Holy Week has become my favorite of all weeks because I finally understood the reason we celebrate Christmas, Easter, and the different events of the Lord's human life. It is so that we might walk through his life with Him and understand our lives in relation to His. When I began to understand this, I began to appreciate holidays a bit more, and I have made it a point to try to actually understand what happened and join myself with the events happening.


Last year, the reality of it being my sin that scourged my Lover's precious flesh, crowned my Lord with a thorny mockery, and nailed my God to a horrible cross became very real to me - more real than it had been for years. When I watched The Passion of the Christ, I saw my sins blackening his eyes, riping his skin, pushing him down, and nailing him up. It was my sin that did each of those things. And it was my helping hand that was Simon carrying the cross, it was my serving heart that was Veronica wiping his face, and it was my comforting embrace that was the women staying with Him in his last minutes and holding His weeping Mother.

This past year, I have learned much more about the sorrows suffered by Mary as she walked behind him on that horrible horrible road and stood beneath his beaten body on the cross. I have learned what it means to really follow Christ and imitate Him by joining my heart to that of Mary's on the road of suffering.


And I had intended to really focus on that through this Holy Week, but at the beginning of Holy Week, I was allowed to understand another element of my relationship to Jesus that I had never imagined before.

Some of you have heard me talk about St. Therese (for those of you that have not, hang tight, I'm writing a blog post about her and how she's changed my life too). Her Charism was really to understand and be the little child that Jesus talks about, and that has been something I have been striving toward for the past year. While praying, I got the impression that instead of being my 22 year old self, I was a little four or five year old, and I was walking along with my hand tucked into a much larger hand than mine. At first, I thought it was my Mother Mary, but I realized the hand was even bigger than that and more calloused. Instead of it being the hand of my Mother, it was the hand of my Big Brother, Jesus.

Now, those of you that know me know that I've always wanted a big brother, and several of my good guy friends have stepped up into similar roles, but it's never quite the same as actually having a Big Brother. Well, for some reason, that day, I was overwhelmed by the knowledge that Jesus was more than just my Lover, he was my Big Brother. He came from the Father so that I could be adopted by His Father and be part of His Family. He came to take human form so that I could be His little sister. I knew that before, I've even written about it before, but I never understood it in relation to Calvary.

That man who was mocked, betrayed, beaten, scourged, crowned with thorns, forced to carry a heavy cross when He was half dead, stripped, and nailed to a cross was my Big Brother. I began that day to really pray that I could understand what it meant to be the little sister of the Messiah, and I began to pray that I would not shield my heart from being broken as I entered Good Friday.


I again watched The Passion this Good Friday, but whereas before I was focused on Jesus and Mary, this time, I was drawn to John. John would have been the closest thing to a little brother that Jesus had. He was much younger than the other disciples, and he was very, very close to Jesus. Watching The Passion through John's eyes and connecting a bit with Mary Magdalene, I began to understand a whole new depth of the Love of Jesus and now I have a whole new appreciation and understanding of the blessed horror that took place in Jerusalem that day.

My Big Brother gave his life for me. He suffered horrible, horrible thing so that I could continue to live and know true joy. He selflessly stepped into my place and took my punishment, and I could only stand at the foot of the cross and cling to my Mother and cry as he suffered and died for me.


Jesus isn't some distant person, just a man who loves my soul. He's not just God in flesh. He is my brother. He didn't die for nameless, faceless people. He didn't just die for us because he loved us. He died for us because we are his brothers and sisters. He suffered for you and me, His little sisters. He suffered for you, His little brother. He did not want us to suffer the pain of spiritual death, so He suffered death - something foreign to His nature - for us. He did not allow me to take the pain away. He did not allow me to keep him from dying. Instead, he just looks me in the eye and said, "Follow me."


And so, I followed Him. I ran along side him, pushing against the crowd, struggling to be near to Him. I ran with His Mother - my Mother - and found the places where we could be closest to Him. I climbed Calvary with Him and stood at His feet, on the ground red with His blood. I wept as I looked at my big brother's battered frame, quivering in pain as he hung for hours upon that cross he took for me.

I am Mary Magdalene, understanding the price of my sin and forgiveness. I am John, understanding that my Lord, my brother, is dying for me, understanding now His words the night before in the upper room. I am Mary, joining my sufferings to His for the salvation of myself and the world (Col 1:24). But most importantly, I am me, the little sister, finally understanding that the man upon the cross is my Big Brother.

Comments

  1. ...WOW. Ok, I'm crying now. :oops: Because ever since my faith in Jesus really became my own, I've always seen Him as holding me in his lap while I'm praying and talking to Him, that I'm like a little child in His arms, no matter how old I've gotten to be. I can still fit in His lap. So I really connected with how you started this post.

    And then...at the end when you said, "He did not allow me to take the pain away. He did not allow me to keep him from dying. Instead, he just looks me in the eye and said, 'Follow me.'"...wow. Recently, whenever I see something about Jesus' suffering that is so emotionally charged that I'm sobbing (like Ray Vander Laan's "Faith Lesson" on Gethsemane), I end up crying out through my tears, "No, Jesus, no, no, no..." and "Not for me, Jesus." I want to stop it; I don't think I'm worth His drinking the cup of God's wrath for me. But I can't stop Him. And my heart breaks.

    So...thank you very, very much for writing this all out. :) Happy Easter. He is risen.

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