Today is Good Friday. It is the day that we commemorate the death of Jesus on the Cross. Jesus truly died the “death of love” for us, “for God is love”. (1 John 4: 8) He died out of a passionate, all-consuming love for us to save us from our sins and open the gates of heaven to us. He chose to endure unimaginable sufferings during his Passion purely out of love for us and that we might begin to understand the infinite extent of His love. His is truly an abyss of love that we will not be able to fathom through all eternity! On this Good Friday let us begin to meditate on God’s love for us in his Passion and Death and consider how important we must be to Him for Him to go to such absurd lengths to prove His love to us!
“And when the sixth hour had come, there was darkness over the whole land until the ninth hour. And at the ninth hour Jesus cried out with a loud voice, ‘Eloi, Eloi lama sabachthani?’ which means, ‘My God, my God, why hast thou forsaken me?’ And some of the bystanders hearing it said, ‘Behold, he is calling Elijah.’ And one ran and, filling a sponge full of vinegar, put it on a reed and gave it to him to drink, saying, ‘Wait, let us see whether Elijah will come and take him down.’ And Jesus uttered a loud cry, and breathed his last. And the curtain of the temple was torn in two, from top to bottom. And when the centurion, who stood facing him, saw that he thus breathed his last, he said, ‘Truly this man was the Son of God’!” (Mark 15: 33-39) Jesus truly died the “death of love” for me and for all mankind.
In the months leading up to her death from tuberculosis, a death she endured without the benefit of any modern treatments or medications, St. Therese spoke about her own sufferings in relation to those suffered by her Spouse, Jesus. She said, “Do not be troubled, little sisters, if I suffer very much and if you see in me, as I have already said to you, no sign of joy at the moment of death. Our Lord really died as a Victim of Love, and see what His agony was! Our Lord died on the Cross in anguish, and yet His was the most beautiful death of love. To die of love does not mean to die in transports. I tell you frankly, it appears to me that this is what I am experiencing.” (Story of A Soul, Epilogue, p. 269) Now, of course, Therese was no in way stating that her death accomplished the salvation of mankind as Jesus’ death did! She is simply showing the resemblance of her life lived completely out of love for God and others, to Jesus’ total donation of self in love.
This website is called stthereseofthechildjesus, but I omitted the entirety of her religious name due to space constraints. Therese’s complete religious name was Sister Therese of the Child Jesus and of the Holy Face. The Holy Face refers to the face of Jesus disfigured in His Passion. During the Process of Canonization for Therese in 1910 her sister, Mother Agnes of Jesus, testified before the tribunal, “Her love of the Child Jesus drew her to offer herself to him as a toy in the hand of a child. By this apparently childish expression she meant that she should surrender herself entirely to our Lord’s will, and be prepared to be treated by him as he pleased. In the Holy Face she saw an expression of all the humiliations our Lord had to endure, and drew from it constant willingness to suffer and be humiliated for love of him. One day we were standing in front of a picture of the Holy Face, and I said: ‘What a pity his eyes are lowered; we can’t see the expression in them.’ ‘Oh, no!’ she said. ‘It’s better that way; we could not look at his divine expression without dying of love’.” (St. Therese of Lisieux By Those Who Knew Her, p. 45)
On this Good Friday let us thank God the Father for His infinite love for us when He gave His Son Jesus to die on the Cross out of love for us.