Play this music as you prepare for prayer.
Pause and hold your heart and the whole world in your hands.
It was bound to happen–all things considered.
After a night in prison, interrupted by several hurried trials,
after all the interrogations and beatings–
don’t forget the excruciating scourging at the pillar
and the Roman soldiers’ mocking
that included that crowning of thorns.
According to Tradition, it’ll be but the first of three falls.
Here we see that our Lord’s body, like ours, can only take so much.
At a certain point, it gives way. It gives up.
Under the weight of that cross, his knees buckle
and his body can’t help but give in to gravity.
It can be pretty exhausting trying to defy gravity.
It’s so much easier to surrender to it.
But that’s the last thing the Lord does.
Even if his body is showing signs of giving up, he doesn’t.
He does not give up; he gets up.
And he gets up and keeps carrying that cross–
even if no one’s there to cheer him on,
even if most of the voices in that mob are actually jeering at him.
That makes getting up harder and more painful.
Our bodies are not immortal, after all; they can only take so much.
We have been made aware of this often-forgotten fact now
more than ever,
when one third of the world is under movement restriction.
More than ever, we feel that our bodies are vulnerable
to an invisible–and seemingly invincible–enemy.
The question on all our minds is:
Will our bodies, like the Lord’s, like the over 400,000
as of today’s global count of confirmed COVID 19 cases,
also take a fall?
We all fear that, but the best thing that we can do
is to pray hard and to take every precaution
by practicing social distancing and personal hygiene.
But here’s another question that should also be on our minds:
Will our hearts also take a fall?
Will we also lose heart, lose hope, lose faith
as we hear disheartening news each day,
as we continue to expose ourselves
to the world’s fear and panic?
Will we also give in to this other force
that pulls down not our bodies, but our spirits?
We already know the answer to that question.
The Lord has shown us what we can and should do.
Don’t give in. Don’t give up.
Instead, like him, get up.
Fight this spiritual gravity. Defy it.
We owe it to ourselves. We owe it to our loved ones.
We owe it the world.
Spend a few moments
telling the Lord how you feel–
and what you can try to do today
in response to him.
“Behold the Wood” from St. Louis Jesuits. Image for Station from Fratel Venzo. “Rise Up” (originally by Andra Day)
Feel free to share your thoughts and questions below.