Custom Search

Wednesday, April 20, 2011

Via Dolorosa 14/14…Jesus Is Laid In the Sepulchre

In the advent of the Holy Triduum, we ponder on our journey with Jesus, who “went out, carrying His Cross, to the place called “the place of the skull”, which is called in Hebrew, Golgotha” (John 19:17).  I pray that the reflection of this final holy step of Christ’s journey will embrace your heart.  Thank you for journeying with me and sharing my humble reflections throughout these fourteen Stations of the Cross this Lent.

“Adoramus te, christe, et benedicimus tibi, quia per crucem tuam redemisti mundum.

We adore Thee O Christ, and we praise Thee - Because by Thy holy cross Thou hast redeemed the world.”

– The Testament of St. Francis of Assisi – 1182 - 1226


Scripture Reading:

“The hour has come for the Son of Man to be glorified.  Amen, amen, I say to you, unless a grain of wheat falls to the ground and dies, it remains just a grain of wheat; but if it dies, it produces much fruit.  Whoever loves his life loses it, and whoever hates his life in this world will preserve it for eternal life.” (John 12:23-25, NAB)

“After this, Joseph of Arimathea, secretly a disciple of Jesus for fear of the Jews, asked Pilate if he could remove the body of Jesus.  And Pilate permitted it. So he came and took his body. Nicodemus, the one who had first come to him at night, also came bringing a mixture of myrrh and aloes weighing about one hundred pounds.  They took the body of Jesus and bound it with burial cloths along with the spices, according to the Jewish burial custom.  Now in the place where he had been crucified there was a garden, and in the garden a new tomb, in which no one had yet been buried.  So they laid Jesus there because of the Jewish preparation day; for the tomb was close by.” (John 19:38-42, NAB)

“If, then, we have died with Christ, we believe that we shall also live with him.  We know that Christ, raised from the dead, dies no more; death no longer has power over him.  As to his death, he died to sin once and for all; as to his life, he lives for God. Consequently, you too must think of yourselves as (being) dead to sin and living for God in Christ Jesus.  Therefore, sin must not reign over your mortal bodies so that you obey their desires.” (Romans 6:8-12, NAB)

Simply Reflect:

Dear Jesus, the disciples and a few others now carried your most holy body, covered with a veil, to be buried in a stranger’s sepulchre.

“…Foxes have dens and birds of the sky have nests, but the Son of Man has nowhere to rest his head.” (Luke 9:58, NAB)

The journey to the tomb, away from Golgotha, was simply quiet and solemn.  The women bearing torches in their hands quietly led the way...passing the fields...shepherds and their flock...

All along the holy way, Mother Mary whispered psalms in a sweet but melancholy tone from the depths of her heart…contemplatively holding on to the pierced lifeless hands of her loving Son.  O, the anguish of a Mother in having to watch her Son die and now having to bury Him…to bid her Child a last farewell…

“How long, O Lord?  Wilt thou forget me for ever?  How long wilt thou hide thy face from me?  How long must I bear pain in my soul, and have sorrow in my heart all the day?...” (Psalm 13:1-2, RSV)

“Even though I walk through the valley of the shadow of death, I fear no evil; for thou art with me; thy rod and thy staff, they comfort me…surely goodness and mercy shall follow me…” (Psalm 23:4, 6, NAB)

“Be gracious to me, O Lord, for I am in distress; my eye is wasted from grief, my soul and my body also…but I trust in thee, O Lord, I say, “Thou art my God.”…” (Psalm 31:9, 14, NAB)

“Wait for the Lord, and keep to his way, and he will exalt you to possess the land; you will look on the destruction of the wicked.” (Psalm 37:34, NAB)

“Lord, all my longing is known to thee, my sighing is not hidden from thee.  My heart throbs, my strength fails me; and the light of my eyes - it also has gone from me…” (Psalm 38: 9-10, NAB)

“My tears have been my food day and night, while men say to me continually, “Where is your God?”” (Psalm 42:3, NAB)

“The sacrifice acceptable to God is a broken spirit; a broken and contrite heart, O God, thou wilt not despise.” (Psalm 51: 17, NAB)

“Thy solemn processions are seen, O God, the processions of my God, my King, into the sanctuary…” (Psalm 68:24, NAB)

“How lovely is thy dwelling place, O Lord…for a day in thy courts is better than a thousand elsewhere.  I would rather be a doorkeeper in the house of my God.” (Psalm 84:1, 10, NAB)

“Bless the Lord, O my soul; and all that is within me, bless his holy name!...” (Psalm 103:1, NAB)

Arriving at the entrance of the tomb…they rolled the stone away and reverently laid the Precious Body of Jesus in the sepulchre.

Flowers and aromatic spices were scattered all around the tomb by the women.  The men, after praying, then waited outside to roll back the stone to seal the entrance of the tomb.

“After having once more given expression to their love by tears and fond embraces, they left the grotto.  Then the Blessed Virgin entered, seated herself close to the head of her dear Son, and bent over his Body with many tears…  Magdalen hastily and eagerly came forward, and flung on the Body some flowers…then she clasped her hands together, and with sobs kissed the feet of Jesus…” (p212, The Dolorous Passion of Our Lord Jesus Christ, Anne Catherine Emmerich)

The Blessed Virgin knew that she must now part with Her loving Child…losing Him…leaving Him there all alone in the cold darkness of the sepulchre…till the glorious hour…  Mary sadly “kept all these things in her heart.” (Luke 2:51, RSV)

“The Blessed Virgin”, writes St Fulgentius, “would ardently have desired to have buried her soul with the body of Christ.”  And this Mary herself revealed to St Bridget, saying: “I can truly say that at the burial of my Son one tomb contained as it were two hearts.”

With this, the entrance to the holy tomb...the sanctuary...the Holy of Holies...was finally sealed…Jesus Our Lord is no more...

Quiet Pondering:

Very simply and quietly, we contemplate one of the greatest 13th Century Latin hymn, Stabat Mater Dolorosa, attributed to Gregory I, Bernard of Clairvaux, Pope Innocent III, St. Bonaventura, Jacopone da Todi, Pope John XXII, and Pope Gregory XI, and others; translated from Latin into English by Edward Caswall (1814-1878).

This beautiful hymn, based upon the prophecy of Simeon that a sword was to pierce the heart of Our Lord's mother, the Blessed Virgin Mary, continues to be sung at the Stations of the Cross during Lenten services.

At the cross her station keeping,
Stood the mournful Mother weeping,
Close to Jesus to the last.

Through her heart, His sorrow sharing,
All His bitter anguish bearing,
Now at length the sword had pass'd.

Oh, how sad and sore distress'd
Was that Mother highly blest
Of the sole-begotten One!

Christ above in torment hangs;
She beneath beholds the pangs
Of her dying glorious Son.

Is there one who would not weep,
Whelm'd in miseries so deep
Christ's dear Mother to behold?

Can the human heart refrain
From partaking in her pain,
In that Mother's pain untold?

Bruis'd, derided, curs'd, defil'd,
She beheld her tender child
All with bloody scourges rent.

For the sins of His own nation,
Saw Him hang in desolation,
Till His spirit forth He sent.

O thou Mother! fount of love!
Touch my spirit from above;
Make my heart with thine accord.

Make me feel as thou hast felt;
Make my soul to glow and melt
With the love of Christ our Lord.

Holy Mother! pierce me through;
In my heart each wound renew
Of my Saviour crucified.

Let me share with thee His pain,
Who for all my sins was slain,
Who for me in torments died.

Let me mingle tears with thee,
Mourning Him who mourn'd for me,
All the days that I may live.

By the cross with thee to stay,
There with thee to weep and pray,
Is all I ask of thee to give.

Virgin of all virgins best,
Listen to my fond request
Let me share thy grief divine.

Let me, to my latest breath,
In my body bear the death
Of that dying Son of thine.

Wounded with His every wound,
Steep my soul till it hath swoon'd
In His very blood away.

Be to me, O Virgin, nigh,
Lest in flames I burn and die,
In His awful Judgment day.

Christ, when Thou shalt call me hence,
Be Thy Mother my defence,
Be Thy cross my victory.

While my body here decays,
May my soul Thy goodness praise,
Safe in Paradise with Thee.


Stabat Mater dolorosa
Juxta Crucem lacrimosa,
Dum pendebat Filius.

Cujus animam gementem,
Contristatam et dolentem,
Pertransivit gladius.

O quam tristis et afflicta
Fuit illa benedicta
Mater Unigeniti!

Quem maerebat, et dolebat,
Pia Mater, dum videbat
Nati paenas inclyti.

Quis est homo, qui non fleret,
Matrem Christi si videret
In tanto supplicio?

“Earlier at one of the retreat conferences the retreat master had said that there was a tradition that “no petition you asked at the fourteenth station is ever refused.”
- Thomas Merton

No comments:

Post a Comment