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Meditation at the foot of the cross

I could not look him in the face. I was grappling with my sin and sinfulness, seeking to understand them in all their horror, that I might hate them. Before me was an intense, compelling image of Christ, crowned with thorns, bleeding, crying, and looking at me with sadness and pain. When I asked Christ how he ended up in such a state, he said: “Your sin.” I tried to accept that, but I could not, for I could not reconcile it with the years of close friendship that Christ and I had shared. One of two — the weight of my sin or my friendship with Christ — must not be real. I was left in confusion and shame, unable to look him in the eyes. But Jesus had more to say.

Christ, why did you end up in such a state? “As with all things, because of love. I left my place in heaven and became Incarnate to find you, who were lost. I came out of love for you, to be with you and to free you. Let your guilt and sorrow lead you here (to the cross) to be forgiven and to love me. Do not try to take me down from the cross. Accompany me. Embrace me. Kiss my feet. Let my tears fall on your head.”

I was relieved, grateful and at peace, now knowing what to do in the midst of my sin. Daniel, let your guilt and sorrow drive you to Christ crucified, not away from him. Let your misery impel you back to the open arms of the Father. Jesus wants you with him.

I stood at the foot of the cross, embraced his feet and loved him, consoling the heart of Christ. I again could meet his gaze, where I now saw in his eyes the same sadness and pain, but also more: compassion, desire and love.

Daniel Rice, from St. Timothy Church in Chantilly, is in his first year of theology at St. Charles Borromeo Seminary in Wynnewood, Pa.

© Arlington Catholic Herald 2019