In Thy sight are all they that afflict Me; My heart hath expected reproach and misery. And I looked for one that would grieve together with Me, but there was none: and for one that would comfort Me, and I found none.
Psalm 68: 21-22
I find it stunning how many emails I receive from protestants excoriating me for mentioning Our Lord’s Passion, or for any feelings of wanting to make reparation for my sins and the sins of the world, or for wanting to comfort Our Lord in the Garden, in whatever hamfisted way possible, because “it is already done” and “nowhere in the Bible does it say anyone has to suffer for anyone else’s sins.”
I find these emails to be the saddest of all. I can understand how there can still be people emailing me asking if they should get out of their 401k or IRA. I can understand how people can walk around with zero understanding of the financial system, and even of simple arithmetic. It is terrifying, but I can understand it.
What I cannot understand is people who proudly proclaim their deep, intense “personal relationship with Jesus Christ” having absolutely no interest in or compassion for Him personally. I tell you over and over again that the Eucharist, that is the consecrated bread and wine is ACTUALLY PHYSICALLY JESUS CHRIST, and there is ZERO INTEREST. None. Zip. I tell you He is here physically and you can not only go be in His physical presence, but you can also physically take Him into your body if you enter into the Church.
Because, you know, when you are in a deep, intense “personal relationship” with someone, you have NO INTEREST in seeing them, being close to them, or being physically intimate with them.
And beyond that, when you are in a deep, intense “personal relationship” with someone, when they are suffering, the only thing that matters to you is whether or not you caused the suffering, and if so, are you legally dispensed from the liability.
I’m not a sodomite. I didn’t actually kill any of those babies with my own hands. It is His job to bear that guilt. He chose to go into the Garden and take it. He chose to sob until His capillaries burst. This is a purely legal question. If I didn’t do it, or if He legally contracted to suffer for my sins, then it is all on Him, and I’m certainly not going to dive back into any suffering with Him … I mean, that would be missing the point, right? I’m saved. He took it, and so, LET HIM HAVE IT.
It seems to me that the only “deep, personal relationship” in that is with one’s self.
Our Lord is a Person. A Divine Person. He is also the Person Who engineered and created the universe. Time is one of His engineered constructs. For Him, all of time is one, big NOW. Thus, everything that ever has happened or ever will happen is perpetually present and happening to Him. He is perpetually in the Manger in Bethlehem. He is perpetually in the Garden in agony. He is perpetually on the Cross. He is perpetually resurrected. He is perpetually ascended to the Father.
We meet Him upon the Cross at every Mass, in which He folds time so that we can all be physically at the foot of the Cross. Why does He do this? Because He looks for one that would grieve together with Him. He is comforted by the compassion of the very people who put Him on the Cross, and He provides this ability for temporal transcendence so that EVERYONE who loves Him can be with Him at Calvary, not just the few people who were there 1980 years ago. He does this so that Peter and the rest of the Apostles who fled could be there. He does this so that the little peasant woman in 9th century France could be with Him. He does this so that we can be with Him.
On Holy Thursday, He is especially comforted by those who truly, truly love Him, not as a piece of contract law or legalistic device, but as He is, a Person, and He affords us the chance to be with Him in the Garden; to approach Him as He lies prostrate in the dirt, sobbing, shaking, and already bleeding from the inside out, and ask to stay with Him and suffer with Him.
You do realize that is what the word “compassion” means, right? “Com” means “with”. “Passion” means “suffer”. To have compassion is to desire to “suffer with” another person.
It seems to me that if you really have a “personal relationship” with Jesus Christ, then the thought of NOT going to Him in the Garden, not just on Holy Thursday, but every single day of your life, is intolerable, regardless of who caused His agony, or whether or not it is “legally covered”. If you are indifferent to the suffering of another, please stop lying to yourself and the world by claiming that you are engaged in a “deep, personal relationship”.
“… And I looked for one that would grieve together with Me … I sought for one that would comfort Me …”