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“I wanted to be crucified and lifted up on the Cross, so that, in whatever way they want Me, souls may find Me.”

Fourth word: “My God, my God, why have you forsaken me?”

6/23/2020
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At noon, darkness came over the whole land until three in the afternoon. And at three in the afternoon Jesus cried out in a loud voice, “Eloi, Eloi, lema sabachthani?” (which means “My God, my God, why have you forsaken me?”). When some of those standing near heard this, they said, “Listen, he’s calling Elijah.” (Mark 15:33-35).

Psalm 22 that Jesus mentions on the cross is very long.  We can find its starting point precisely in Jesus' cry: the feeling of being abandoned by God, a God who "does not respond" to requests for help, neither by day nor by night. It seems like a blocked situation, almost the feeling of suffocation with no way out.

But a glimmer opens: "Yet you are enthroned as the Holy One; you are the one Israel praises." (v. 3). In this verse there is the decisive key. If we feel abandoned, we are told where to find God: in the psalms. There is His dwelling place, there it is possible to find God, and moreover each psalm is a praise. That is why in His sense of abandonment Jesus clings to a psalm, ours.

But it's not enough. There is another reason to add to this apparently theoretical statement. It leads us to trust: "In you our ancestors put their trust; they trusted and you delivered them. To you they cried out and were saved; in you they trusted and were not put to shame." (vv. 5-6).  This is to tell us that faith includes the construction of a memory, the "biblical" one, which speaks of man's experience in relation to his closeness to God. When our life is confused and we no longer understand what is happening to us, we can also rely on the faith of others who are stronger than us, or who live a better time than ours: for this reason Jesus' disciples are called to form a "community of brothers".

The psalmist continues. He is still in despair: he sees himself surrounded by roaring lions, he feels himself melting like water, like wax, all his bones are out of joint, his mouth is dried up.  Dogs surround him, a pack of villains encircles him; (vv. 13-17). But still the invocation prevails. This means that in the end trust prevails: " But you, Lord, do not be far from me. You are my strength; come quickly to help me. Deliver me from the sword, my precious life from the power of the dogs. Rescue me from the mouth of the lions; save me from the horns of the wild oxen!" (vv. 20-22).

Here, however, surprisingly, a decisive turning point opens. In fact, the psalm says: "You answered me!" (v. 22). A grandiose hymn of thanksgiving and praise that crosses the cosmos and history begins. God seemed deaf and indifferent, extraneous to the suffering of those who invoked Him with accents of despair, but now He has answered! Nobody knows how long it took to reach that conclusion. Regarding Jesus, not much, because the "response" is an event that has upset the history of the world: His resurrection.

In abandonment we find God's presence unfailingly. Jesus experienced that on the cross, Luisa also experienced it in her countless sufferings due to the privation of Jesus. We can also experience that when we feel abandoned.

In the passage of December 15, 1905, Jesus tells Luisa that He wanted to be crucified and lifted up on the Cross, so that, in whatever way they want Him, souls may find Him. So, someone wants Jesus as Teacher for he feels the necessity to be instructed, and He lowers Himself to teach him both the small things and the highest and most sublime, such as to make of him the most learned. Another moans in abandonment, in oblivion; he would like to find a father, he comes to the foot of Jesus’ Cross, and Jesus makes Himself Father, giving him a home in His wounds, His Blood as drink, His Flesh as food, and His very Kingdom as inheritance. Another one is infirm, and he finds Jesus as Doctor who, not only heals him, but gives him the sure remedies in order not to fall again into infirmities. Another one is oppressed by calumnies, by scorns, and at the foot of Jesus’ Cross he finds his Defender, to the point of rendering calumnies and scorns back to him as divine honors; and so with all the rest. So, whoever wants Jesus as Judge finds Him as Judge; whoever wants Him as Friend, as Spouse, as Advocate, as Priest, so do they find Him. This is why Jesus wanted to be nailed, hands and feet: to oppose nothing of what they want - to make Himself as they want Him. But woe to those who, seeing that Jesus is  unable to move even one finger, dare to offend Him.

On the cross one dies by suffocation: the cry must have died out in Jesus' throat. But it is certain that Jesus had the whole psalm in His mind, and with that word He wanted to give us a path to follow if we were in situations similar to His. St Augustine writes: "The Lord Jesus, the Son of God, is the one who prays for us, who prays in us and who is prayed by us. He prays for us as our priest; He prays in us as our leader; He is prayed by us as our God. Let us therefore recognize in Him our voice, and in us His voice"!

don Marco

 

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