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Holding Him

St. Maximilian Kolbe once said that “the cross is the school of love.”

I find that to gaze at the crucifix is to contemplate the boundless love of Christ for us, so as to allow the Spirit to move our own hearts to grow in love with Him.

When was the last time you held the crucifix in your hands and traced over the wounds of love that Christ endured for you?

Embracing the crucifix in my hands has allowed my heart to respond to the passionate love of Christ and His self-giving love in a more profound way. This form of prayer and contemplation has become a sort of examen for me, one by which I see how Christ is with me in my sorrows and sufferings, but also where I have wounded His heart through my own sins.

I begin by beholding His face.

As Jesus looks upon me from the wood of the cross I hear him ask me, “ Do you know how much I love you?”  “Do you see how far I will go for love of you?”  Thank you, Jesus. Thank you for seeking me out, and enduring suffering so that I may be united to you forever.

As I move to meditate on His crown of thorns, I am pained by the ways He was mocked and reflect on how I myself have been the recipient of gossip, scorn, and judgment.

Oh Jesus, I know this pain. Thank you for being with me and experiencing this sorrow first. It is of great comfort to me to know I am not alone in this suffering. I am then moved to conviction. How many times have I been like the soldiers or the crowd who mocked Jesus?  How often do I use my tongue in judgment of another. Do I speak in love? If I do not speak my disdain for others, how often do I allow criticism and negativity to captivate my thoughts?  I am sorry Jesus. Help me to remember that you are in all those I meet.

As I continue to scan the cross, I stop to meditate on the wounds of His hands and feet. Jesus, you have been pierced.

Not only are you experiencing extreme physical suffering, but also intense mental anguish. Thank you, Jesus. Thank you for enduring this so that I know I am not alone in my own physical and mental suffering. You have modeled for me how to persevere with endurance and patience. You have shown true humility. Lord, how have I pierced you through my sin?  Help me to see how I have wounded the body of Christ by failing my brothers and sisters in Christ through word or action. I beg for the grace of true contrition so that I may not continue to wound you, Lord.

Lord, you look so tired hanging on the Cross. How can I comfort you?

As I hold you in my hands, Jesus, grant me the grace to remain grateful for the great sacrifice of love you have made for me.

Because of your wounds, I can see the face of God. Your sacrifice reminds me that  I am not alone. Be with me. Come to me. When I gaze upon the cross let me see that you are kissing me. Even in your hour of sorrow and suffering you model perfect self-giving love. Remind me of your triumphant victory and that with you I can conquer my sin, and be healed. Grant me the grace to contemplate the divine and to allow the Holy Spirit to move me to empathy, compassion and conviction both for myself and others.

In my deepest pain you are with me, help me my sweet Jesus to be with you in yours.

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Erin Pohlmeier

Erin is a Northern-born, Southern-living professional teacher on an indefinite sabbatical to raise 6 (for now) children and is currently a deacon's-wife-in-training. She manages life, faith, and her family's annual goal of hiking 100 miles.

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