Ask—Is life a series of “gifts” from God or tragedies?
Seek—Encounter the empty tombs of life with the expectation that they are signs of the Risen Christ.
Knock—Meditate on 1 John 4:18–19.
There is no fear in love, but perfect love casts out fear. For fear has to do with punishment, and he who fears is not perfected in love. We love, because he first loved us.
How do you view the events of your life, as God punishing you or as God showering you with gifts? Is your image of what God is like from the way Jesus reveals God to us or from some other source?
Transform Your Life—Accept the cross whenever it presents itself to you in daily life. Do not flee from it. Do not shrink from it, but embrace it in the name of Jesus. Learn from it, be enlightened by it, find in it the key to living a fruitful life. Think of this every time that you sign yourself with the cross.
Msgr. Esseff reflects on the meaning Good Friday for the life of every Christian. We are closely united to Jesus in his Passion. Who are the people who has caused you to suffer? What are wounds that have been inflicted during your lifetime? What are the wounds you have inflicted on others? How can those wounds be healed? He also proclaims how the Cross of Christ defeated the devil then and continues to defeat the enemy today.
I live now not with my own life but with the life of Christ who lives in me. The life I now live in this body I live in faith: faith in the Son of God who loved me and who sacrificed himself for my sake. (Galatians 2:20)
I know the plans I have in mind for you – it is Yahweh who speaks – plans for peace, not disaster, reserving a future full of hope for you. Then when you call to me, and come to plead with me, I will listen to you. When you seek me you shall find me, when you seek me with all your heart; I will let you find me. (Jeremiah 29:11-14a)
3. Love is always patient and kind; it is never jealous; love is never boastful or conceited; it is never rude or selfish; it does not take offense and is not resentful. Love takes no pleasure in other people’s sins but delights in the truth; it is always ready to excuse, to trust, to hope, and to endure whatever comes. Love does not come to an end (1 Corinthians 13:4-8)
Then Jesus came with them to a small estate called Gethsemane; and he said to his disciples, ‘Stay here while I go over there to pray’.(Matthew 26:36)
He took Peter and the two sons of Zebedee with him. And sadness came over him, and great distress.(Matthew 26:37)
Then he said to them, ‘My soul is sorrowful to the point of death. Wait here and keep awake with me.’ And going on a little further he fell on his face and prayed. ‘My Father,’ he said ‘if it is possible, let this cup pass me by. Nevertheless, let it be as you, not I, would have it.'(Matthew 26:38-39)
He came back to the disciples and found them sleeping, and he said to Peter, ‘So you had not the strength to keep awake with me one hour? You should be awake, and praying not to be put to the test. The spirit is willing, but the flesh is weak.'(Matthew 26:40-41)
Again, a second time, he went away and prayed: ‘My Father,’ he said ‘If this cup cannot pass by without my drinking it, your will be done!’ And he came back again and found them sleeping, their eyes were so heavy.(Matthew 26:42-43)
Leaving them there, he went away again and prayed for the third time, repeating the same words.Then he came back to the disciples and said to them, ‘You can sleep on now and take your rest. Now the hour has come when the Son of Man is to be betrayed into the hands of sinners. (Matthew 26:44-45)
Get up! Let us go! My betrayer is already close at hand.’ He was still speaking when Judas, one of the Twelve, appeared, and with him a large number of men armed with swords and clubs, sent by the chief priests and elders of the people. (Matthew 26:46-47)
Now the traitor had arranged a sign with them. ‘The one I kiss,’ he had said ‘he is the man. Take him in charge.’ So he went straight up to Jesus and said, ‘Greetings, Rabbi’, and kissed him. Jesus said to him, ‘My friend, do what you are here for’. Then they came forward, seized Jesus and took him in charge. (Matthew 26:48-50)
At that, one of the followers of Jesus grasped his sword and drew it; he struck out at the high priest’s servant, and cut off his ear. Jesus then said, ‘Put your sword back, for all who draw the sword will die by the sword. (Matthew 26:51-52)
Or do you think that I cannot appeal to my Father who would promptly send more than twelve legions of angels to my defense? But then, how would the scriptures be fulfilled that say this is the way it must be?'(Matthew 26:53-54)
The Scourging at the Pillar
The high priest then stood up and said to him, ‘Have you no answer to that? What is this evidence these men are bringing against you?’ But Jesus was silent. And the high priest said to him, ‘I put you on oath by the living God to tell us if you are the Christ, the Son of God’.(Matthew 26:62-63)
‘The words are your own’ answered Jesus. ‘Moreover, I tell you that from this time onward you will see the Son of Man seated at the right hand of the Power and coming on the clouds of heaven.'(Matthew 26:64)
At this, the high priest tore his clothes and said, ‘He has blasphemed. What need of witnesses have we now? There! You have just heard the blasphemy.(Matthew 26:65)
What is your opinion?’ They answered, ‘He deserves to die’. Then they spat in his face and hit him with their fists; others said as they struck him, ‘Play the prophet, Christ! Who hit you then?'(Matthew 26:66-68)
Then Pilate saw that he was making no impression, that in fact a riot was imminent. So he took some water, washed his hands in front of the crowd and said, ‘I am innocent of this man’s blood. It is your concern.’ And the people, to a man, shouted back, ‘His blood be on us and on our children!’ (Matthew 27:24-25)
Then he released Barabbas for them. He ordered Jesus to be first scourged and then handed over to be crucified.(Matthew 27:26)
Like a sapling he grew up in front of us, like a root in arid ground. Without beauty, without majesty (we saw him), no looks to attract our eyes;(Isaiah 53:2)
a thing despised and rejected by men, a man of sorrows and familiar with suffering, a man to make people screen their faces; he was despised and we took no account of him.(Isaiah 53:3)
And yet ours were the sufferings he bore, ours the sorrows he carried. But we, we thought of him as someone punished, struck by God, and brought low. (Matthew 53:4)
Yet he was pierced through for our faults, crushed for our sins. On him lies a punishment that brings us peace, and through his wounds we are healed.(Matthew 53:5)
The Crowning with Thorns
the soldiers twisted some thorns into a crown and put it on his head, and dressed him in a purple robe. They kept coming up to him and saying, ‘Hail, king of the Jews!’; and they slapped him in the face. (John 19:2-3)
Pilate came outside again and said to them, ‘Look, I am going to bring him out to you to let you see that I find no case’. Jesus then came out wearing the crown of thorns and the purple robe. Pilate said, ‘Here is the man’. (John 19:4-5)
When they saw him the chief priests and the guards shouted, ‘Crucify him! Crucify him!’ Pilate said, ‘Take him yourselves and crucify him: I can find no case against him’.(John 19:6)
‘We have a Law,’ the Jews replied ‘and according to that Law he ought to die, because he has claimed to be the Son of God.’ When Pilate heard them say this his fears increased. (John 19:7-8)
Re-entering the Praetorium, he said to Jesus, ‘Where do you come from?’ But Jesus made no answer. Pilate then said to him, ‘Are you refusing to speak to me? Surely you know I have power to release you and I have power to crucify you?’ (John 19:9-10)
‘You would have no power over me’ replied Jesus ‘if it had not been given you from above; that is why the one who handed me over to you has the greater guilt.'(John 19:11)
From that moment Pilate was anxious to set him free, but the Jews shouted, ‘If you set him free you are no friend of Caesar’s; anyone who makes himself king is defying Caesar’.(John 19:12)
Hearing these words, Pilate had Jesus brought out, and seated himself on the chair of judgement at a place called the Pavement, in Hebrew Gabbatha.It was Passover Preparation Day, about the sixth hour. ‘Here is your king’ said Pilate to the Jews.(John 19:13-14)
‘Take him away, take him away!’ they said. ‘Crucify him!’ ‘Do you want me to crucify your king?’ said Pilate. The chief priests answered, ‘We have no king except Caesar’.(John 19:15)
So in the end Pilate handed him over to them to be crucified.(John 19:16)
The Carrying of the Cross
And when they had finished making fun of him, they took off the purple and dressed him in his own clothes. They led him out to crucify him.They enlisted a passer-by, Simon of Cyrene, father of Alexander and Rufus, who was coming in from the country, to carry his cross. (Mark 15:20-21)
Large numbers of people followed him, and of women too, who mourned and lamented for him. But Jesus turned to them and said, ‘Daughters of Jerusalem, do not weep for me; weep rather for yourselves and for your children. (Luke 23:27:28)
For the days will surely come when people will say, “Happy are those who are barren, the wombs that have never borne, the breasts that have never suckled!”(Luke 23:29)
Then they will begin to say to the mountains, “Fall on us!”; to the hills, “Cover us”. For if men use the green wood like this, what will happen when it is dry?’ (Luke 23:30-31)
We had all gone astray like sheep, each taking his own way, and Yahweh burdened him with the sins of all of us. Harshly dealt with, he bore it humbly, he never opened his mouth, like a lamb that is led to the slaughter-house, like a sheep that is dumb before its shearers never opening its mouth. (Isaiah 53:6-7)
By force and by law he was taken; would anyone plead his cause? Yes, he was torn away from the land of the living; for our faults struck down in death. (Isaiah 53:8)
They gave him a grave with the wicked, a tomb with the rich, though he had done no wrong and there had been no perjury in his mouth. (Isaiah 53:9)
Yahweh has been pleased to crush him with suffering. If he offers his life in atonement, he shall see his heirs, he shall have a long life and through him what Yahweh wishes will be done.(Isaiah 53:10)
His soul’s anguish over he shall see the light and be content. By his sufferings shall my servant justify many, taking their faults on himself. (Isaiah 53:11)
Hence I will grant whole hordes for his tribute, he shall divide the spoil with the mighty, for surrendering himself to death and letting himself be taken for a sinner, while he was bearing the faults of many and praying all the time for sinners. (Isaiah 53:12)
The Crucifixion of Jesus Christ
They brought Jesus to the place called Golgotha, which means the place of the skull. They offered him wine mixed with myrrh, but he refused it. (Mark 15:22-23)
Then they crucified him, and shared out his clothing, casting lots to decide what each should get. It was the third hour when they crucified him(Mark 15:24-25)
The inscription giving the charge against him read: ‘The King of the Jews’.And they crucified two robbers with him, one on his right and one on his left.(Mark 15:26-28)
One of the criminals hanging there abused him. ‘Are you not the Christ?’ he said. ‘Save yourself and us as well.’ But the other spoke up and rebuked him. ‘Have you no fear of God at all?’ he said. ‘You got the same sentence as he did, but in our case we deserved it: we are paying for what we did. But this man has done nothing wrong. (Luke 23:39-41)
Jesus,’ he said ‘remember me when you come into your kingdom.’ ‘Indeed, I promise you,’ he replied ‘today you will be with me in paradise.'(Luke 23:42-43)
Near the cross of Jesus stood his mother and his mother’s sister, Mary the wife of Clopas, and Mary of Magdala. Seeing his mother and the disciple he loved standing near her, Jesus said to his mother, ‘Woman, this is your son. Then to the disciple he said, ‘This is your mother’. And from that moment the disciple made a place for her in his home.(John 19:25-27)
After this, Jesus knew that everything had now been completed, and to fulfil the scripture perfectly he said: ‘I am thirsty’. (John 19:28)
And about the ninth hour, Jesus cried out in a loud voice, ‘Eli, Eli, lama sabachthani?’ that is, ‘My God, my God, why have you deserted me? (Matthew 27:46)
But Jesus, again crying out in a loud voice, yielded up his spirit. At that, the veil of the Temple was torn in two from top to bottom; the earth quaked; the rocks were split; (Matthew 27:50-51)
Meanwhile the centurion, together with the others guarding Jesus, had seen the earthquake and all that was taking place, and they were terrified and said, ‘In truth this was a son of God.’ (Matthew 27:54)
Excerpt from THE JERUSALEM BIBLE, copyright (c) 1966 by Darton, Longman & Todd, Ltd. and Doubleday, a division of Penguin Random House, Inc. Reprinted by Permission.
Ask—Do I feel “lucky” to carry the cross that God has given me?
Seek—Keep the cross of Christ before you at all times. Let it be a reminder of Christ’s forgiveness for you when you feel sorrowful for your sins. Let it be a sign of God’s love for others when you are tempted to judge. Let it be a light that you can share with those whose lives you touch.
Knock—Meditate on 1 Corinthians 12:26–27.
If one member suffers, all suffer together; if one member is honored, all rejoice together. Now you are the body of Christ and individually members of it.
Do you think of yourself as a part of Christ’s body? What changes are necessary for you to make in order to act as a member of the body of Christ rather than as an individual follower of Jesus?
Transform Your Life—Realize the difference that embracing the cross of Christ makes in your life. Learn to see the world in a new way and to see what Jesus meant when he said, “Behold, I make all things new” (Revelation 21:5).
The following stations of the cross are based on those celebrated by Pope John Paul II on Good Friday 1991. They are presented here as an alternative to the traditional stations and as a way of reflecting more deeply on the Scriptural accounts of Christ’s passion. More can found at the USCCB Catholic Bishops website.
Before each station:
We adore you, O Christ, and we bless you.
Because by your holy cross you have redeemed the world.
After each station:
Lord Jesus, help us walk in your steps.
God of power and mercy,
in love you sent your Son
that we might be cleansed of sin
and live with you forever.
Bless us as we gather to reflect
on his suffering and death
that we may learn from his example
the way we should go.
We ask this through that same Christ, our Lord.
First Station: Jesus in the Garden of Gethsemane
Then Jesus came with them to a place called Gethsemane, and he said to his disciples, “Sit here while I go over there and pray.” He took along Peter and the two sons of Zebedee, and began to feel sorrow and distress. Then he said to them, “My soul is sorrowful even to death. Remain here and keep watch with me.” He advanced a little and fell prostrate in prayer, saying, “My Father, if it is possible, let this cup pass from me; yet, not as I will, but as you will.” When he returned to his disciples he found them asleep. He said to Peter, “So you could not keep watch with me for one hour? Watch and pray that you may not undergo the test. The spirit is willing, but the flesh is weak.” (Matthew 26:36-41)
grant us your strength and wisdom,
that we may seek to follow your will in all things
Second Station: Jesus, Betrayed by Judas, is Arrested
Reader: Then, while [Jesus] was still speaking, Judas, one of the Twelve, arrived, accompanied by a crowd with swords and clubs, who had come from the chief priests, the scribes, and the elders. His betrayer had arranged a signal with them, saying, “the man I shall kiss is the one; arrest him and lead him away securely.” He came and immediately went over to him and said, “Rabbi.” And he kissed him. At this they laid hands on him and arrested him. (Mark 14: 43-46)
grant us the courage of our convictions
that our lives may faithfully reflect the good news you bring.
Third Station: Jesus is Condemned by the Sanhedrin
Reader: When day came the council of elders of the people met, both chief priests and scribes, and they brought him before their Sanhedrin. They said, “If you are the Messiah, tell us,” but he replied to them, “If I tell you, you will not believe, and if I question, you will not respond. But from this time on the Son of Man will be seated at the right hand of the power of God.” They all asked, “Are you then the Son of God?” He replied to them, “You say that I am.” Then they said, “What further need have we for testimony? We have heard it from his own mouth.” (Luke 22: 66-71) Minister:
grant us your sense of righteousness
that we may never cease to work
to bring about the justice of the kingdom that you promised.
Fourth Station: Jesus is Denied by Peter
Reader: Now Peter was sitting outside in the courtyard. One of the maids came over to him and said, “You too were with Jesus the Galilean.” But he denied it in front of everyone, saying, “I do not know what you are talking about!” As he went out to the gate, another girl saw him and said to those who were there, “This man was with Jesus the Nazorean.” Again he denied it with an oath, “I do not know the man!” A little later the bystanders came over and said to Peter, “Surely you too are one of them; even your speech gives you away.” At that he began to curse and to swear, “I do not know the man.” And immediately a cock crowed. Then Peter remembered the word that Jesus had spoken: “Before the cock crows you will deny me three times.” He went out and began to weep bitterly. (Matthew 26: 69-75)
grant us the gift of honesty
that we may not fear to speak the truth even when difficult.
Fifth Station: Jesus is Judged by Pilate
Reader: The chief priests with the elders and the scribes, that is, the whole Sanhedrin, held a council. They bound Jesus, led him away, and handed him over to Pilate. Pilate questioned him, “Are you the king of the Jews?” He said to him in reply, “You say so.” The chief priests accused him of many things. Again Pilate questioned him, “Have you no answer? See how many things they accuse you of.” Jesus gave him no further answer, so that Pilate was amazed…. Pilate, wishing to satisfy the crowd, released Barrabas… [and] handed [Jesus] over to be crucified. (Mark 15: 1-5, 15)
grant us discernment
that we may see as you see, not as the world sees.
Sixth Station: Jesus is Scourged and Crowned with Thorns
Then Pilate took Jesus and had him scourged. And the soldiers wove a crown out of thorns and placed it on his head, and clothed him in a purple cloak, and they came to him and said,”Hail, King of the Jews!” And they struck him repeatedly. (John 19: 1-3)
grant us patience in times of suffering
that we may offer our lives as a sacrifice of praise.
Seventh Station: Jesus Bears the Cross
Reader: When the chief priests and the guards saw [Jesus] they cried out, “Crucify him, crucify him!” Pilate said to them, “Take him yourselves and crucify him. I find no guilt in him.” … They cried out, “Take him away, take him away! Crucify him!” Pilate said to them, “Shall I crucify your king?” The chief priests answered, “We have no king but Caesar.” Then he handed him over to them to be crucified. So they took Jesus, and carrying the cross himself he went out to what is called the Place of the Skull, in Hebrew, Golgotha. (John 19: 6, 15-17) Minister:
grant us strength of purpose
that we may faithfully bear our crosses each day.
Eighth Station: Jesus is Helped by Simon the Cyrenian to Carry the Cross
Reader: They pressed into service a passer-by, Simon, a Cyrenian, who was coming in from the country, the father of Alexander and Rufus, to carry his cross. (Mark 15: 21)
grant us willing spirits
that we may be your instruments on earth.
Ninth Station: Jesus Meets the Women of Jerusalem
Reader:A large crowd of people followed Jesus, including many women who mourned and lamented him. Jesus turned to them and said, “Daughters of Jerusalem, do not weep for me; weep instead for yourselves and for your children, for indeed, the days are coming when people will say, ‘Blessed are the barren, the wombs that never bore and the breasts that never nursed.’ At that time, people will say to the mountains, ‘Fall upon us!’ and to the hills, ‘Cover us!’ for if these things are done when the wood is green what will happen when it is dry?” (Luke 23: 27-31) Minister:
grant us gentle spirits
that we may comfort those who mourn.
Tenth Station: Jesus is Crucified
Reader: When they came to the place called the Skull, they crucified him and the criminals there, one on his right, the other on his left. [Then Jesus said, “Father, forgive them, they know not what they do.”] (Luke 23: 33-34)
grant us merciful hearts
that we may bring your reconciliation and forgiveness to all.
Eleventh Station: Jesus Promises His Kingdom to the Good Thief
Reader: Now one of the criminals hanging there reviled Jesus, saying, “Are you not the Messiah? Save yourself and us.” The other, however, rebuking him, said in reply, “Have you no fear of God, for you are subject to the same condemnation? And indeed, we have been condemned justly, for the sentence we received corresponds to our crimes, but this man has done nothing criminal.” Then he said, “Jesus, remember me when you come into your kingdom.” He replied to him, “Amen, I say to you, today you will be with me in Paradise.” (Luke 23: 39-43) Minister:
grant us perseverance
that we may never stop seeking you.
Twelfth Station: Jesus Speaks to His Mother and the Disciple
Reader: Standing by the cross of Jesus were his mother and his mother’s sister, Mary the wife of Clopas, and Mary of Magdala. When Jesus saw his mother and the disciple there whom he loved, he said to his mother, “Woman, behold, your son.” Then he said to the disciple, “Behold, your mother.” And from that hour the disciple took her into his home. John 19: 25-27
grant us constancy
that we may be willing to stand by those in need.
Thirteenth Station: Jesus Dies on the Cross
Reader: It was now about noon and darkness came over the whole land until three in the afternoon because of an eclipse of the sun. Then the veil of the temple was torn down the middle. Jesus cried out in a loud voice, “Father, into your hands I commend my spirit”; and when he had said this he breathed his last. (Luke 23: 44-46)
grant us trust in you
that when our time on earth in ended
our spirits may come to you without delay.
Fourteenth Station: Jesus is Placed in the Tomb
When it was evening, there came a rich man from Arimathea named Joseph, who was himself a disciple of Jesus. He went to Pilate and asked for the body of Jesus; then Pilate ordered it to be handed over. Taking the body, Joseph wrapped it [in] clean linen and laid it in his new tomb that he had hewn in the rock. Then he rolled a huge stone across the entrance to the tomb and departed. (Matthew 27: 57-60)
grant us your compassion
that we may always provide for those in need.
Lord Jesus Christ,
your passion and death is the sacrifice that unites earth and heaven
and reconciles all people to you.
May we who have faithfully reflected on these mysteries
follow in your steps and so come to share your glory in heaven
where you live and reign with the Father and the Holy Spirit
one God, for ever and ever.
A prayer of the Servant of God, Fr. Dolindo Ruotolo
Jesus to the soul:
Why are you upset and agitated? Leave your cares to Me and all will be fine. I tell you honestly, every act of true and blind reliance on Me results in what you desire and will resolve all your difficulties.
Abandonment in Me does not mean being frustrated, becoming anxious and desperate, offering Me your anxious prayer, that I may follow you and have your anxiety be a prayer. Abandonment means to shut the eyes of your soul in peace, moving your thoughts away from your troubles, and instead of thinking about your worries and pain, let Me take over your troubles. Simply say: Jesus, You take over. To be worried, restless, and to think of the consequences of an event is the opposite of reliance, it is really contrary to it.
It is like a child, who wants his mom to take care his needs, but in the way he wants: and with his whims and childish ideas he hampers her work. Shut your eyes and go with the flow of My grace. Do not ponder over your present moment and put away thoughts of your future as a temptation; rest in Me, believe in My goodness and I swear on My Love, that if you think like this: Jesus, You take over, I indeed will do it for you, I will comfort you, free you, and guide you. If I have to take you in a different direction from the one you are looking at, I will train you, I pick you up in my arms, and you will find yourself, like a baby sleeping in his mother’s arms, on the other shore. What gives you immense stress and hurts you, is your reasoning over it, your thoughts and the pains it gives you; it is wanting at all costs to take care by yourself of what is afflicting you.
How many things I can do, be it a material or a spiritual need, when the soul turns to Me, looks at Me and says to Me: Jesus, You take over, and close its eyes and rests in Me! You do not receive many graces because you insist on getting them by yourself; but instead you will receive numberless graces, when your prayer is in full reliance on Me. When you are in pain, and you pray that I may act, you want Me to act as you believe I should… you do not turn to Me; instead you want Me to submit to your ideas; you are like a sick person who does not ask the doctor for the cure but tells him what the cure is to be. Don’t be like this, but pray as I taught you in the Our Father: Hallowed be your name, which means, may You be glorified in this need of mine; Your kingdom come, which means, everything may work toward Your Kingdom in us and in the world; Your will be done on earth as it is in heaven, which means, You direct it as it seems best to You for the good of our eternal and temporal life.
When you truly tell me: Your will be done, which is the same then to say: Jesus, You take over, then I do intervene with all My omnipotence, and I will resolve every situation, even if there is no way out. For example, do you see your sickness becoming worse instead of improving? Don’t become anxious, close your eyes and tell Me with trust: Your will be done, Jesus, You take over. I repeat it, I do take care, I intervene like a doctor, and even do a miracle if it is necessary. Does a patient become worse? Don’t be frightened, close your eyes and say: Jesus, You take over. I tell you again: I will indeed do it for you, and there is no medicine more powerful than my loving intervention. I take over only when you close your eyes. You never sleep, you want to appraise everything, to think, to delve into everything; you choose to rely on human power, or, worse, on men, trusting their intervention. This is what hampers My words and My will. Oh how much I long for this reliance in order to assist you, and how much I grieve to see your anxiety. Satan does just this: he gives you anxiety to remove Me from you and throw you into human initiative.
Trust only in Me instead, rest in Me, rely on Me in everything. I do miracles in proportion to your complete reliance on Me, with no thought of yourself. I spread treasures of graces when you are in the most squalid poverty. If you have your own resources, even a few, or if you seek them, you are at the natural level, thus you follow the natural way of things, which often are dominated by Satan. Never a thinker or a philosopher has done any miracle, not even among the
Saints; only he who relies on God does divine work.
When you see that things become complicated, say with your eyes closed: Jesus, I abandon myself to You; Jesus, You take over, and stop worrying about it, because your mind is sharp and for you it is difficult to distinguish evil; but trust in Me, and let your mind wander away from your thoughts. Do this for all your needs; all of you, do this, and you shall see great things, endless and silent miracles. I swear it on My Love. I shall indeed take over, you can be sure of it. Pray always with this loving confidence and you shall have great peace and great fruits, even when I choose for you the grace of immolating yourself for reparation and the love that entails suffering. Do you believe it is impossible? Shut your eyes and say with all your soul: Jesus, You take over. Don’t be afraid, I indeed will take care of you, and you shall bless My Name, in humility. A thousand prayers do not equal only one act of abandonment; don’t ever forget it. There is no better novena than this: Oh Jesus I abandon myself to You, Jesus, You take over.
Imprimatur + Vincenzo Pelvi Auxiliary Bishop of Naples,Italy July 25, 2006 Translated from: “Non voglio agitarmi, Gesù Pensaci Tu”
This text with used with permission from Giovanna Ellis and the Ellis Editing Group
Msgr. Esseff reflects on the meanings within the Holy Thursday liturgy of the Church. He discusses the action of Jesus when He washes the feet of the apostles and what that means for us today. Can we be Jesus to others and wash the feet of even our enemies? He also discusses the institution of the Eucharist and what it truly means to have devotion to the Blessed Sacrament.
Before the feast of Passover, Jesus knew that his hour had come
to pass from this world to the Father.
He loved his own in the world and he loved them to the end.
The devil had already induced Judas, son of Simon the Iscariot, to hand him over.
So, during supper,
fully aware that the Father had put everything into his power
and that he had come from God and was returning to God,
he rose from supper and took off his outer garments.
He took a towel and tied it around his waist.
Then he poured water into a basin
and began to wash the disciples’ feet
and dry them with the towel around his waist.
He came to Simon Peter, who said to him,
“Master, are you going to wash my feet?”
Jesus answered and said to him,
“What I am doing, you do not understand now,
but you will understand later.”
Peter said to him, “You will never wash my feet.”
Jesus answered him,
“Unless I wash you, you will have no inheritance with me.”
Simon Peter said to him,
“Master, then not only my feet, but my hands and head as well.”
Jesus said to him,
“Whoever has bathed has no need except to have his feet washed,
for he is clean all over;
so you are clean, but not all.”
For he knew who would betray him;
for this reason, he said, “Not all of you are clean.”
So when he had washed their feet
and put his garments back on and reclined at table again,
he said to them, “Do you realize what I have done for you?
You call me ‘teacher’ and ‘master,’ and rightly so, for indeed I am.
If I, therefore, the master and teacher, have washed your feet,
you ought to wash one another’s feet.
I have given you a model to follow,
so that as I have done for you, you should also do.”
Seek—Volunteer to do a task that no one wants to do, a menial or unpleasant one, all the while uniting yourself with the Passion and death of Jesus.
Knock—Meditate on Philippians 2:5–8.
Have this mind among yourselves, which is yours in Christ Jesus, who, though he was in the form of God, did not count equality with God a thing to be grasped, but emptied himself, taking the form of a servant, being born in the likeness of men. And being found in human form he humbled himself and became obedient unto death, even death on a cross.
Paul says that we should have the mind of Christ, and Jesus told Peter that he was think- ing like men and not God. How is having the mind of Christ dif- ferent than the thoughts that we are apt to naturally have about life issues? Do your thoughts clash with the gospel message? Are you trying to be like the god you imagine, or the God Jesus revealed by his cross?
Transform Your Life——Seek to follow the example of Christ in all that you do. Be solicitous for the care of others. Learn the truth that in dying to self you are born into eternal life.
Ask—How well do I prepare for the Eucharist I receive at Mass?
Seek——Try to participate fully in the Eucharist each time you are present; if possible, attend daily. Be mindful of what you do at Mass, what you hear and how you respond. Learn more about the Mass.
Knock—Meditate on 1 Corinthians 11:27–30.
Whoever, therefore, eats the bread or drinks the cup of the Lord in an unworthy manner will be guilty of profaning the body and blood of the Lord. Let a man examine himself, and so eat of the bread and drink of the cup. For any one who eats and drinks without discerning the body eats and drinks judgment upon himself. That is why many of you are weak and ill, and some have died.
What does St. Paul mean when he says that those who do not discern bring judgment upon themselves? What can you do to examine yourself before participating in Mass to avoid doing it absent-mindedly?
Transform Your Life——Know what you celebrate when you are at Mass; mean what you do with every gesture and prayer, and especially when you receive Holy Communion.
Listening with the ear of the heart, Fr. Mauritius Wilde guides us through “The Little Prince” by Antoine de Saint-Exupéry. In this episode, Fr. Mauritius talks about our differences and the danger of judging others.
One sees clearly only with the heart. Anything essential is invisible to the eyes. The story of a stranded pilot, an extraordinary little boy, and their remarkable friendship, The Little Prince has become a cherished fable for generations of readers. As enchanting as it is wise, this beloved classic captures the mysteries of the heart and opens us to the meaning of life and the magic of love.
taken from the back an edition of the book no longer in print
Ask—How often do I trust my own instincts, and how often do I entrust myself to Jesus?
Seek—Try to live each day with a resignation to God’s will, accepting each moment with the expectation that God might be breaking through to you.
Knock—Meditate on 1 Peter 5:6–9.
Humble yourselves therefore under the mighty hand of God, that in due time he may exalt you. Cast all your anxieties on him, for he cares about you. Be sober, be watchful. Your adversary the devil prowls around like a roaring lion, seeking some one to devour. Resist him, firm in your faith, knowing that the same experience of suffering is required of your brotherhood throughout the world.
Think about the experiences of Peter in the Gospels and the Acts of the Apostles and the words that he writes here. What lesson do they convey? How might the devil be seeking to devour you in your attempts to follow Christ?
Transform Your Life—Make an amendment to live humbly. Cast all of your hopes and anxieties on the Lord. Realize that following Jesus means living a life of trust not in your way but in God’s way, the way of the cross.