Monday, April 21, 2014

A Passion Walk with Jesus

For God so loved the world that he gave his only Son, so that everyone who believes in him might not perish but might have eternal life. 
John 3:16
         Every year on Good Friday, my church parish puts on what is called A Passion Walk with Jesus where they walk nearly 12 miles from Immaculate Conception church, to St. Mary's church. It begins at 6:30am, early Friday morning, and ends with the 3:00pm Mass. The walk consists of going through the stations of the cross(one each rest stop), praying the Rosary, singing, and taking turns carrying a wooden cross.
          This year I was able to go. I've been two or three times before this year, but I was much younger. I was expecting really nothing more than to be able to get in some awesome prayer time and time with my friends who also went on the Walk. But, God works in mysterious ways.
          I started the Walk after getting only three hours of sleep the night before. Wasn't to excited about that. My group started out carrying the giant Rosary in this picture -->
Being made of wood and chain, it wasn't the lightest thing, so not something you would want to carry early in the morning, but we did. Being that it was on Good Friday, we are called to fast and abstain from meat, so I had a handful of grapes for breakfast. Well, after walking for about six hours, with frequent rest stops, we stopped for lunch. We were over our half way point and getting quite sweaty and sunburned by then. Couldn't really eat much at lunch because of the heat and it being a fast day. Well, it finally came time for my group to carry the cross. The last group to carry it.
       I had never actually carried it before in the past years. I just never really wanted to. But I did this year. And although I knew Christ's cross was heavy for him to carry, feeling the weight of the cross on my sunburned shoulders was an eyeopener. And this cross has a wheel on the bottom, so I wasn't even carrying its entire weight. I was tired, hungry, thirsty, sore, and carrying a replica of Christ's cross on Good Friday. That really struck home for me.
        I just kept thinking of the pain Christ went through for us. He must have been exhausted. He was covered in sweat and blood. His own blood after being scourged, tortured and beaten for the remission of our sins. For my sins. He was forced to carry that heavy wooden cross on his bloody and bruised shoulders. He was thrown onto that cross, which was already covered in His blood, and nailed onto it.
      When we reached St. Mary's, we went straight into Mass. We kissed the Crucifix in remembrance of Christ's passion and death which we remember on that day. Then we received Him in Eucharist, body, blood, soul and divinity. We received God!

       After Mass, I'd realized that I hadn't drank or eaten very much all day, despite being in Louisiana heat and sweating all day. I'd only had 8oz. of water. I realized this when I walked into an air-conditioned room, and felt like I was going to pass out. On the cross, Christ said "I thirst." After all He had been through and was undergoing, those simple words were surely an understatement. Going on the Passion Walk made the extent of Christ's sufferings and sacrifice even more real to me. Feeling the weight of that cross made it more real. The hunger, thirst, sunburn and soreness made it more real. So incredibly real. It was hard to keep back tears as I carried the cross. God certainly had more in store for me during the Passion Walk than I ever anticipated. His sacrifice and sufferings are not only known in my mind, but also deep within my heart. He revealed to my heart the extent of the pain Christ felt during his passion and crucifixion. How he suffered for me in atonement for my sins, and the sins of the whole world. Although I have always known this, growing up in a strong Catholic family and all, Christ truly used my experience to reveal deep within my heart the extent of His love for me and each and every person He creates so uniquely. Christ suffered and died for you and for me! Open your hearts and love Him and receive His love as we celebrate His miraculous resurrection in this time of Easter! My He bless you always and keep you close to His most Sacred Heart!

Suffering is a great grace; through suffering the soul becomes like the Savior; in suffering love becomes crystallized; the greater the suffering, the purer the love.
 --St. Faustina--

For Jesus Christ I am prepared to suffer still more.
--Saint Maximilian Kolbe--