Corpus Christi Jesuit Community
The Peace of Christ
In the Spiritual Exercises Ignatius invites the one contemplating the passion of Christ to see how the divine nature goes, as it were, into hiding; and then how in the Lord’s resurrection that divine power reveals itself so miraculously in its true and most holy effects.
From the Corpus Christi Jesuit Community in Bournemouth, a community of sick or retired Jesuits, where many know at first hand the diminishing of bodily powers, Bill MacCurtain SJ reflects on weakness and strength.
His agony in the garden of Gethsemane was worse than all the physical agonies that Jesus suffered during his Passion. He was bereft of any fellow-feeling from either his Father or his slumbering friends; his own mother was suffering also in the agony of her Son, and that added grievously to his pain.
Jesus, the great lover, was utterly abandoned and alone in his suffering. The wickedness of his people in their treacherous and murdering hearts was so appalling that at the prospect of actually sharing that shameful state, so much the antithesis of his own, he shrank back in horror ‘Father, do not ask this of me; it is everything I am not’.
Jesus looked on us in our contemptible misery and then he looked at the face of his Father h is Love. ‘But if this is what you desire of me: that my love for you, Father, should also become my love for them, so let it be’. He who was without sin, became Sin for our sake.
The fiat of Jesus to his Father was infinitely more glorious, more divine, than Mary’s when she agreed to share our humanity with God. She gave to Jesus our humanity. The Father gave him Satan’s caricature of that humanity so that he might restore us to the Father’s divine likeness. His fiat was so other that my minuscule understanding cannot get round it, any more than I can inwardly digest the Father’s infinite delight at the prospect of our becoming his daughters and sons.
So Jesus in his sharing in our shamed condition is utterly spent and beyond further pain. An angel is sent to revive him. His fiat, his total acceptance now becomes a garment of profound peace that persists throughout his passion. When Jesus offers his peace, a peace that the world cannot give, how can I in my sinfulness reach out and take on that garment of profound peace? The peace of Christ. Is that not heaven?
Read more reflections by Fr Bill MacCurtain SJ on scripture and more on Thinking Faith.
As we contemplate on the works of St Ignatius on his Feast day. Let us also remember the Jesuits at CCJC that have given so much to the mission of the church by making a donation towards their wellbeing. A donation of £50 or more will go a long way towards the day to day care of the elderly or sick Jesuits.
Pray with us
Jesus, Prince of Peace, I do want to be at peace: peace with all that has been in my life, peace in my difficult relationships and peace with you. Jesus give me the courage to be a peace maker.
These reflections remind us of the breathing and body exercises created by Pray as you go. Try the body exercise, to help with preparing for prayer.
Kevin Fox SJ
Became a Jesuit in 1953. Kevin has taught in several UK Jesuit schools and has spent long terms as socius and then province treasurer. He is at present superior of the Boscombe community.