It’s great to have you back here for the third and final day of our online Holy Week Retreat. Today is Holy Saturday, but we will already be praying and reflecting about Easter.
Before we do that, let’s once again recall the blessings that we received yesterday.
What was it yesterday that touched me? Might it have been a passage from Scripture, a reflection, or perhaps a song? Or might it have been something that a fellow retreatant shared?
Take a moment to thank the Lord for all the graces received.
Among these, the greatest gift that we received yesterday was, of course, the ultimate sacrifice of our Lord Jesus–the sacrifice that tore the veil that separated us from God, his death transformed into a wide open door to God’s heart.
Let us be grateful for such an undeserved gift, one that has been won at such a cost.
To begin our retreat today, let us listen to this song “Jesus on the Cross.” This song is very special and personal to me.
A little back story: I wrote the words to this song more than 20 years ago when I was halfway through my theology studies. I had just completed what I still consider two life-altering courses under the eminent theologian, Fr. Catalino Arevalo SJ. The courses were on Christology and Soteriology. I was so moved by what I learned about Jesus of Nazareth and the meaning of our redemption that as a result, I fell even more deeply in love with the Lord.
My heart felt so full at the time that I just needed to express how I felt in some way, so I sat down and wrote these words. I requested my friend, the Jesuit musician Fr. Manoling Francisco SJ, to set the verses to music. He did immediately, but somehow that first piece he composed did not feel right.
Sitting with me before the keyboards, he asked me if I could give him a peg to give him an idea of how I wanted the song to sound like. I knew it had to be a love song, and after thinking about it, I suggested Don McLean’s “And I Love You So” and Sting’s “Shape of My Heart.”
The song sounds nothing like those two, but what Fr. Manoling came up with successfully captured what I felt.
I hope this very personal song helps you see the Lord the way my theology studies and prayers helped me to see and appreciate him.
Whenever you feel ready, feel free to move on to the next section.