The face of the Passion today

The Passion of Jesus - his arrest, trial, crucifixion, death and resurrection - appeared to transpire in a few days as an historic event. Yet, as a saving mystery, the Passion of Jesus abides forever.

"His Paschal mystery is a real event that occured in history, but it is unique: all other historical events happen once, and then they pass away, swallowed up by the past. The Paschal mystery of Christ, by contrast, cannot remain only in the past, because by his death he destroyed death, and all that Christ is - all that he did and suffered for all men - participates in the divine eternity, and so transcends all times while being made present in them all. The event of the Cross and Resurrection abides and draws everything toward life." Catholic Catechism 1084

This issue of Compassion looks at the mystery of the Passion of Jesus abiding in the suffering of our time. Indeed, to know the Passion of Jesus in its fullness one must see it, not just as a past event, but as abiding today. That means, first, to look into the face of suffering today.

Suffering has many faces in our world. Father Thomas Berry, CP sees it reflected in the degradation of the earth. For many years Father Victor Donovan, CP has been touched by the tragedy of the Holocaust. Before the face of lost meaning, so prevalent in our society, Sister Mary Ann Strain, CP turns to the rich tradition of Celtic spirituality for lessons of religious enchantment. Fr Carrol Thorne, C.P. describes the cross of physical suffering borne by so many to Lourdes. A gentle transformation led him from Lourdes to Fort Leavenworth, where he serves today.

Truly, each age bears its own cross. Often enough, as Father Columkille Regan reminds us, the times forget how to carry the cross. When it is remembered, the mystery of the Passion of Jesus brings a courageous patience. Ever ancient, ever new, it offers resurrection and new life. It saves us from despair.

"The event of the Cross and Resurrection abides and draws everything toward life."

Fr Victor Hoagland, C.P.
Editor, Compassion Magazine

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