Palm Sunday of the Passion of the Lord – 5th April 2020
Reflection – [only view of Aidan Troy]
Social media provides great material on religion and spirituality. Now that God’s People cannot be physically present for liturgies, St Joseph’s YouTube transmission of Mases are proving helpful. Daily I receive links to many great religious sites. It would take a long time to view them all, but they have widened ways of being in contact. In this its 12th year from this ‘scribe’, this little parish bulletin has tried to be a form of contact with you.
These few words this week, a modest offering in comparison to what is out there, are offered by me, a Passionist, on how our Father and Founder, Saint Paul of the Cross came to start a new Congregation in the Church 300 years ago in November 1720.
St Paul of the Cross, a Mystic, did not start a new group primarily ‘to do’ but firstly ‘to be’. Before doing, he wanted Passionists, female and male, ‘to reach closer union with God and witness to his love.’ (Constitutions 1]
Of course, St Paul of the Cross wanted Passionists ‘to do’ as well as ‘to be’. He put it like this in the First Rule of 1720, ‘they are to persevere in prayer, and to preach the word of the Cross in season and out of season.’
When a human heart is filled with love of Jesus, it overflows into proclaiming the Cross in life and deeds. Otherwise, there are only empty words.
St Paul of the Cross was no introvert. Looking around at the evils afflicting people of 18th Century Italy, led him to, ‘never tire of insisting that the most effective remedy is the Passion of Jesus, <the greatest and most overwhelming work of God’s love>’ [Letters of St Paul of Cross]
St Paul of the Cross saw the ‘Passion of Jesus’ and the Passion of people, as the one Passion. The suffering of the ‘Crucified Christ’ and the pain of ‘crucified people’ are two sides of the same coin. Here is how the Passionist Rule of Life expresses this intuition of the Founder - ‘We are aware that the Passion of Christ continues in this world until He comes in glory; therefore, we share in the joys and sorrows of our contemporaries as we journey though life to the Father. [C 3]
Religious Congregations profess vows of Poverty, Chastity and Obedience. St Paul of the Cross gave Passionists a 4th Vow, binding those who profess this vow, ‘to keep alive the memory of the Passion of Christ.’ [Rule 1720]
In the present pandemic that we are going though, we are living ‘The Passion of the World 2020’. St Paul of the Cross, from Heaven, is with us all, pleading for a Resurrection for us as truly as is was for the Crucified Christ. His prayer will be answered. When? Only God knows - enough for me.
During ‘lockdown’, I daily pray the Rosary walking around the garden of our church. On each ‘circuit’ I pass the beautiful marble shrine to Our Lady of Sorrows, donated by a parishioner. St Paul of the Cross saw the Passionist sign for the first time in a vision of Mary wearing the habit that is now that of Passionists worldwide. Our Rule says: ‘In our love for Mary, we endeavour compassionately to share her sorrow in the mystery of the Cross, chiefly by contemplating the Mysteries of the Holy Rosary. Invoking her help, we are confident that her motherly intercession will win us the graces we need as sons [daughters], making our way to the Father.’ [C 53]