I had every intention of writing a normal blog post today. Normal in the sense of writing about a topic of interest or a reflection for our readers to consider. But I came across this picture and I felt like writing a prayer-letter to You instead. I hope that my fellow readers may resonate with what follows.
And so I look at You here and the words flow…
We know what has happened to You.
That crown of sharp thorns has just been forced upon Your head, and the blood is starting to pour down Your face. Your clothes have been torn off your body and You have been spat upon, mocked, and beaten by the cruel soldiers. They tossed that red garment around Your bruised shoulders. They thrust that reed into Your hands as your sceptre, and genuflected in sarcastic worship before You. Laughing. Their hearts were cold and so, so hateful. They were awaiting Your death like vultures for their prey. You were in deep pain, but You were bearing it all, for us.
Why do You stare at us like that, Lord?
Is it because, at that moment, You could see into our hearts, all these centuries later? So divided and worn, seeking happiness and fulfilment aside from You, blocked with material things, and afraid of modern terrors?
Is it because You can see the starvation of humanity in our need for both spiritual and physical food?
Is it because You can see the hate and pain Your people endure around the world when standing up for our belief in your teachings? In a world where morals and respect have gone askew?
Are You looking at the future world which has forgotten about the gravity of sin? You showed mercy to the woman caught in adultery and did not condemn her, but You also told her to go and sin no more. Many seem to dismiss that part Lord, and are not prepared to stop living in the ways of darkness.
Your eyes look sad, Lord. Questioning. You seem to be saying “Look at what I am suffering for love of you. Will you kick Me and mock Me too? Go, and sin no more.”
Your body is half turned, as if stepping away. You are about to walk to Your death, Lord, and as You leave you are asking us only one question:
“Will you follow me?”
Will we follow You down the difficult path of pain, rejection, abandonment, and ridicule? Even if we lose our friends and status in society?
Will we follow You despite the trends of the world and discrimination we may encounter because we are Catholics?
Will we follow You because our Christian beliefs may be deemed irrelevant, old-fashioned even, and we are scorned for not “keeping up with the times”?
Lord, what has happened to the world You created, and the souls who inhabit it?
There is a lot of good, Lord, but where there is not, give us the courage to take a stand for love of You. Make us see that evil thrives when good people do nothing, say nothing, and feel nothing.
Make us feel our hearts again when we look into Your eyes, Lord.
Why do You stare at us? Because You know that we know the answer. That following You is the only way.
Even if we go against the grain. Even if we are counter-cultural. So be it.
One day we will stand before You face-to-face and see Your eyes for real. What will we say?
Image Credit: Reproduction of oil on canvas, Christ with Thorns, by Carl Bloch [Public domain], via Wikimedia Commons