The Holy Week is around the corner. In the liturgical texts the atmosphere is growing tense: Jesus inevitably approaches toward his tragic earthly end. Through things that still need to be done, fatigue and many frustrations, appear some images, Lenten memories we carry in our hearts. Melodies, liturgical gestures, a few sentences, maybe a few memories of the smell of spring awakens, some landscapes that are still empty and nostalgic, but it promises a new perspective, an emotion for the heart…
Our past Lents, our personal ecstasies. We look at them years later, through the routine and tiredness… Religious sentiments have certainly given way to many strong emotions caused by what is going on in the world: the suffering of so many people, violence, and cruelty… tragedies that take place under the gaze of the whole world. But also shocking and deadly indifference. The presence of the suffering Christ seems too obvious. Reflection was crucified long ago. Perplexity becomes the only way to react to things and manage them. Words disintegrate and crumble. Pure concepts. You cannot keep in step with the world. What is left, is the effect of a destruction, but also the – ever-growing – desire not to escape, but at least to hide.
Now, meditating and prayer are nothing but the accelerated heartbeat and an agitated breath. There is no place where we to hide. Others – our brothers, sisters, acquaintances and strangers, friends and enemies – become more and more insistent. Contact with them is harming. The mystery of the Cross, which we have tried to address so many times during our meditations, has invaded our lives, slowly squeezing and bursting it. What is left, is lack of security and understanding.
No need for words and thoughts to feel the passion of Jesus. In fact, thus we feel it more and more concretely; it emerges from the pieces of our lives and projects. Pure pain crystallizes in the most intimate feelings, which dare not be called emotions. We remain dwarfed, only able to hang on to some liturgical gestures, and find a relief in a few words of prayer. Meditation has become a school of perseverance. Sometimes a – silent and timid – cry of fear and surrender.
In this existential belief everything seems to stop. Only time goes on, quietly and mercilessly. And images come back – which have been almost erased from our memory – but now are vivid again, tears and kisses, looks and wounds, tenderness and cruelty, love and hate. Everything is surreal, but also desperate and concrete. The thought finally lost find some relief in the slot of the pierced side of Jesus. The infinite sadness is lightened by the humble but inexorable rhythm of the beat on the body membrane extended on the cross. The bag of mercy is torn. Springs of the sacramental life are coming out of it. They are abundantly gushing from the tree of life.
Thus, nature suddenly becomes our great ally and friend: the sun, birds, clouds, trees, and the wind…
friar Bernard Sawicki OSB