This passage is very moving. The utter agony and humiliation that Our Lord endures, never giving in to discouragement, one foot in front of each other as He makes His way to Golgotha!
Let us keep our eyes on the goal…this life is very short! And when things get bleak, as they do sometimes in life, let us contemplate the agonizing steps of Our Lord….
Article from The Family and the Cross by Joseph Breig
The second fall is the fall that brings the temptation of discouragement. But giving up is the one thing above all things that nobody must ever consider doing.
You might almost call a Christian the man who never gives up. You might almost say that Christianity is the religion of not giving up, the faith which emboldens one to go on. Christians can do all kinds of things that they shouldn’t, but the sin from which they flee as from the mouth of hell itself is the sin of throwing in the sponge.
You can’t very well lie down and quit when the One you are following is Christ. He fell, but He got up. And never was any body wearier and more tormented than His.
He had sweat blood in the garden because His soul was so wracked by horror of sin that He was sorrowful even unto death. He had not slept, not even for the hour that His followers slumbered.
He had been set upon by a band armed with clubs and weapons as if they came for a robber. He had been bound and dragged before the High Priest. He had been buffeted by the servant. He had stood his ‘trial before the Sanhedrin.
It was much the same kind of ‘trial which we were to see undergone twenty centuries later, by followers of Christ like Joseph Cardinal Mindszenty and Aloysius Cardinal Stepinac.
There were false witnesses. There was a brushing aside of the rights of the prisoner. There was Christ’s calm attempt to make these men see that they were doing wrong-if He had done evil, then let evidence of the evil be brought; if not, why did they strike Him?
He stood there bound while the interminable farce went on, with everybody against Him, and nobody showing the slightest disposition to be fair. And finally the High Priest cut through the double-talk and got right to the point: ‘I adjure thee by the living God that thou tell us whether thou art the Christ, the Son of God.
Now Christ in all his intolerable exhaustion lifted His head and looked the High Priest in the eye, and answered yes. But in order that there be no possibility of doubt about His meaning, He uttered His solemn warning that He would come later in the clouds of heaven, with great power and majesty, to judge all men-including those who were condemning Him.
This is the Christ Whom we follow; how can a follower of His yield to discouragement; how can anyone despair in whom Christ has come to take up His abode?
Yes, His body was weary unto death, and His soul, sorrowful; but God does not give up, God is all-powerful; God goes on. And the blessed God lives in us by baptism and confirmation and Communion; we are not our own, but Christ’s; we do not live alone, but Christ lives in us. And Christ cannot quit, Christ cannot, will not yield to discouragement.
From the presence of the High Priest He was taken to Pilate while the mob yelled for His blood. Then to Herod, and back to Pilate. And now He was handed over to the torturers to do their fiendish best to break His strength, to break His mind, to break His will.
Hunger and thirst bore down upon Him. Scourging rent His flesh and shed His blood in streams. Thorns pierced His head until it is a wonder that He was not driven mad. And the cross was put upon His back and He was led forth between the howling multitudes.
He fell and fell again, but He got up. And the Christian never stops getting up. The Christian tries and tries and will not stop trying, no matter what burdens weigh upon him, no matter what obstacles are piled in his path, no matter what suffering tears at his vitals.
The Christian in the laboratory fails and fails again, but in the end he discovers the vaccine or the serum that will heal his fellowmen. The Christian in government is back-bitten and slandered; but he goes on for the good of his country.
The Christian father or mother, when the children are ill, is so worn for want of sleep that the head swims; but the Christian parent gets out of bed once more, and another time, and another time, and will not give up.
The Christian caught in the habit of sin struggles loose and is caught again; strives upward and is dragged down; confesses and straightway falls into the same evil; but the one thing that the Christian will not do is to throw up his hands. He will not surrender to the devil or to his human weakness; he will fight on to victory if it takes him every hour of his life and into his deathbed.
If we have faith, said Christ, we can say to this mountain, remove from here, and it will remove. And in the centuries since He walked among us, we have moved so many mountains that we have forgotten nine-tenths of them.
We overthrew the Roman rottenness and persecution; we took the shock of the barbarian invasions and converted the invaders; we turned back the hordes of Mohammedans and the dreadful armies of Atilla the Hun. We broke the power of tyrant after tyrant who tried to chain the Church to his chariot.
We moved the mountain of slavery and overthrew it. We overcame a thousand powerful heresies. We broke the despotic power of men over women, and restored womanhood to the high estate in which it belonged.
The earth, when Christ came into it, was one mountain range after another of disease and despotism and injustice and cruelty and lust. And the mountains fell one after another because Christian men and women, whatever their other faults, refused to do the one thing that means defeat-to give up. Time after time, the Christians, like Christ, were crushed to earth, but always, like Christ, they got up again and struggled on.
They spread through the world enlightening the ignorant, feeding the hungry, clothing the naked, healing the sick, comforting the afflicted, bringing hope to the hopeless; and everywhere their touch, slowly but with indomitable sureness, transformed the world.
How could it be otherwise, when they could say, these Christians, with St. Paul, ‘Now not I live, but Christ lives in me, and with St. Patrick, ‘Christ before me, Christ above me, Christ beside me, Christ in me?
It could not be otherwise, the follower of Christ cannot quit The follower of Christ cannot quit though his soul be sick, though his mind be burdened beyond endurance, though his body be tormented by illness or injury, though his family be scattered, though his business be ruined, though his friends play him false, though the devil himself seems to conspire against him.
Who can give up, who can yield to discouragement or despair, when he sees Christ struggling that last hundred yards, that last yard, in order that He might hang upon the cross for our salvation?
No; the Christian can fall, but the Christian just won’t lie there and surrender. Not the Christian!
The family should wield its influence and give a good example as a unit, particularly within its parish. This will be possible only if all the members have practiced the humbler virtues within the sanctuary of the home. – Fr. Lovasik, The Catholic Family Handbook http://amzn.to/2vDp3jp (afflink)
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