by Lisa Basarab at the Feast of All Saints website, an Upside Down Way of the Cross. [Particularly well-loved by our dear Gerard Serafin during his life.]
Jesus is Pontius Pilate to You
Our Lord daily offers you the choice of innocence or guilt, God’s will or the selfish will. You can choose your creator, or you can exalt yourself. Which will it be? You have ample evidence that sin is destructive. Won’t you remind yourself in the face of the most alluring of temptations that heaven is better? That our Lord created you for Himself?
Jesus is the Cross to You
Our Lord said His yoke is easy, His burden light, but following Him can sometimes seem unbearable. You might cry out in anguish, begging Him to reveal His expectations of you, asking for relief from the trials of your life. Yet He may seem only to provide more pain. It is difficult to remember that from the crucible of suffering comes the greatest good if we are aligned with Him.
Jesus is Your First Fall
Our Lord often appears as a stumbling block to inward eyes. If it weren’t for His harsh commandments, we would be free –-- the noble savages of Jean Jacques Rousseau, able to pursue a natural world of goodness. But we are called not to nature, but to ultimately transcend the natural and become like God. Even though you stumble and are foolish to the scions of this world, you will triumph. As you fall in Christ, collapsing within His grace, the greatest freedom will be yours.
Jesus is Your Mother
Truly, although our Lord provided a most blessed Mother to you in His most beautiful of handmaids, He Himself is always and everywhere all that is good to you. He nurtures you and feeds you with His own Body. He sends His peace and each breath that you sigh. He dries your sorrowful tears and takes you to His heart. He, in the great Triune mystery of God, is your family. In Him are you born. In Him are you sheltered. In Jesus, your Lord, your God, your All.
Jesus is Your Simon of Cyrene
With each drop of blood, whether actual or figurative, on your own walk of Calvary, our Lord is there to help you persevere. He carries your most onerous scourges on this walk of life, blessing each grunt and every step taken to Him. No burden is too heavy for His merciful care, and no weight too little. Never apologize for seeking His aid.
Jesus is Veronica to You
Jesus is always your advocate. He cares not what the crowd thinks of you. He is not persuaded by public opinion. He will wipe your soul and keep you clean while the mud is slung in persecution of your faithfulness to Him. In the end, His judgment is the only one that counts. Do you believe this? Do you act accordingly? Will you accept the tender ministration of a Lord who loves You?
Jesus is Your Second Fall
He permits your fall because it can lead you to Him. O happy fault that leads to so great a Redeemer! As you lie in the dust of your sins, Jesus offers the grace of humility to become like Him, the servant of all, superior to none. The taste of dust is not pleasant, but it tames the insistent demands for the best, the highest regard, the nicest position, the most convenient course, the gourmet scents of hell.
Jesus Mourns for You
How often do you break His heart? How often do you make your own heart sacred and ignore His? With every sin, every substitution of your own will for His, He mourns because it means you are leaving Him. We humans have far more than fifty ways to leave our Lover. Each way hurts more than the last. Even wounded He waits for you, so that He can kiss you and heal your wounds and seal you in His embrace forever. He calls you Beloved!
Jesus is Your Third Fall
Jesus is your dead end. When you are most desolate, most dejected, most bereft, you have no other place to go but the Lord if you want love. You are deluding yourself if you believe anyone could care more. It is only our Lord who knows you better than you know yourself. He is the wall you meet when you are at your wit’s end. In this confrontation with Him you can see truly who you are and what your life must be –-- a glorification of Him.
Jesus Strips You
Jesus is the kindest gardener. He snips and prunes and sometimes seems to tear into you like a machete. You might cringe, but remember that while some flowers shrink from the sun, they cannot grow without its light. What you think of as misfortune, injustice, mistreatment, may only be the best fertilizer you can receive. Sometimes fertilizer stings, but your merciful Lord brings good out of pain and wants you to grow in beauty. What He strips from you is dross hiding your beauty.
Jesus Nails You
You play games. You hide from Him, make desperate or half-hearted bargains with Him. You hope He doesn’t catch you, but He nails you every time. His vision penetrates the depths of your soul. He knows your most anguished fear, your most pervasive frailty. Constantly exposed to Him in all your pettiness, all your infidelity to Him, all your pridefulness, He loves you and considers you precious. He delights in you, and you are His pearl of great price.
Jesus is Your Death
Jesus is the gate of death through which you move into eternal life. Jesus has neutralized all the terrors attached to death and removed its finality in your nightmares. In Him even death cannot conquer joy. Through death He says to you: "Come, you blessed of my Father, and possess the kingdom which was prepared for you from the beginning!"
Jesus is Your Removal from the Cross
Jesus takes you from all the agony of the world and raises you to His heart. He releases you from anger, bitterness, the desire for more and more acquisitions, the pain of discouragement, the wrenching knowledge of your own inadequacy. Once a prisoner, you are now free! You will know the endless joy of love without bounds, extricated from your self-imposed tethers.
Jesus is Your Tomb
One definition of tomb is "last resting place." Jesus is this for you if you dare accept the gift of everlasting love and peace within the heart of the Almighty. To be forever in Him, never separated from Him, always sharing in His majesty is His offer. He made you to be as He is –-- radiant, pure, crystalline in brilliance. Do you accept His invitation to bask in His divinity? He wants, with greatest fervor, to crown you with His glory. Do you say Amen?