The Passionists celebrate the Solemn Commemoration of the Passion of Our Lord Jesus Christ on the Friday before Ash Wednesday as the Lenten and Easter seasons begin. This is the mystery we hold in our hearts.
“The Catholic Church glories in every deed of Christ. Her supreme glory, however, is the cross. Well aware of this, Paul says: God forbid that I glory in anything but the cross of our Lord Jesus Christ!
“At Siloam, there was a sense of wonder, and rightly so: a man born blind recovered his sight. Yet still, how many blind people are left in the world! Lazarus rose from the dead, but even this affected only Lazarus: what of the countless numbers who die because of their sins? Those miraculous loaves fed five thousand people; yet this is a small number compared to all those now still starving in ignorance.
“For us all, however, the cross is the crown of victory. Indeed, it has redeemed the whole of humanity!” (St. Cyril of Jerusalem)
“A book of life, it teaches the way to life and communicates life,” the Passionist bishop Vincent Strambi writes. “The one who reads this book day and night is blessed.”
“The Passion of Jesus is a “sea of suffering” but also a “sea of love,” St. Paul of the Cross writes. So many do not know the depths of this mystery. “Like people living in a swamp,” he says, an image probably suggested by the swamp lands of the Tuscan Maremma in Italy where Paul ministered much of his life.
“We must awaken them from their sad state. We must send them quickly zealous workers, truly poor in spirit and detached from every creature, that by the trumpet of God’s word they might, through the holy Passion of Christ, awaken those who ‘sit in darkness and the shadow of death.
awaken within us a spirit of prayer.
Give us devotion to the Passion of your Son
and the grace of fostering it in others
by our preaching and example,
and we ask this through Christ, our Lord. Amen.