How We Should Meditate on the Passion

In Conversation With God Weekly Reflection
5th Week of Lent: How We Should Meditate on the Passion

By Francis Fernandez-Carvajal

2/37.2 How we should meditate on the Passion.

In our meditation, the Passion of Christ comes out of its cold historical frame and stops being a pious consideration, presenting itself before our eyes as terrible, brutal, savage, bloody ... yet full of love.[1404] We do well then to contemplate Our Lord’s Passion: in our personal meditation, when reading the Gospel, in the sorrowful mysteries of the Holy Rosary, in The Way of the Cross ... sometimes we imagine ourselves to be there, present amongst those who witnessed those moments. We take a seat among the Apostles during the Last Supper, when our Lord washed their feet and spoke to them with infinite tenderness, at the supreme moment of the institution of the Sacred Eucharist. We picture ourselves as one more among the three who slept at Gethsemane when the Lord hoped that we would accompany him in his infinite loneliness; as one amongst those who heard Peter swear that he did not know Jesus; as one who heard the false testimonies at that travesty of a judgement and saw the Chief Priest make a great show of being shocked at Jesus’ words; as one in the thick of the mob that screamed out for his death and saw him hoisted up on the cross on Calvary. We put ourselves among the onlookers and see the disfigured yet noble face of Jesus. Astonishingly, we feel his infinite patience.

With the help of grace, moreover, we can also try to contemplate the Passion of Christ as He himself lived it.[1405] It seems impossible, and of course it will always be a very impoverished view compared with the reality of what in fact took place, but it can become for us an extraordinarily rich source of prayer.

St Leo the Great tells us that Whoever truly wishes to venerate the Passion of the Lord should contemplate Jesus crucified with the eyes of his soul, and in such a way that he identifies his own body with that of Jesus.[1406]

What would Jesus, in his infinite holiness, have felt at Gethsemane, taking upon himself the burden of all the sin of the world, all the acts of wickedness, of disloyalty, of sacrilege? What loneliness must He have known when three times He found fast asleep the disciples He had taken with him for company that night? He saw too those among his friends who, in the course of the centuries, would fall asleep at their posts while the enemy remained wide awake.

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[1404] St. J. Escrivá, Furrow, 993

[1405] cf R. A. Knox, A Retreat for lay people

[1406] St Leo the Great, Sermon 15 on the Passion


Francis Fernandez-Carvajal,

Rev. Francis Fernandez-Carvajal

Rev. Francis Fernández-Carvajal is a Priest of the Opus Dei Prelature and the author of many popular spiritual works. His seven-volume series In Conversation with God provides over 500 meditations to be used throughout the liturgical year. It has sold over 2 million copies and has been translated into many languages.