It was October 16 of 2005; I never had been to Jerusalem before. Very early that Sunday morning I arrived for the first time to the Church of the Holy Sepulcher, where the site of Calvary is. The exact place where Jesus was crucified 2,000 years ago. I knelt and kissed the rock where Our Lord died, as a sign of faith and veneration. As I was praying a sense of “déjà vu” came over me: “I have been here before!”
I felt that it was not the first time that I was praying in the exact site where Our Lord was crucified. I continued my prayer in the silence of my heart totally oblivious to what was happening around me, people coming and going, and chants of all different types. There was no exterior silence at all, but in my heart, everything was silent… I was kneeling in the place of my redemption. Suddenly it came again, now with more intensity: “I have been here before!”… and then it happened.
I saw (not with my physical eyes, but interiorly in contemplation) my Jesus crucified, I saw his body all destroyed, scourged and full of wounds, his hands and feet nailed to the cross. I saw the crown of thorns completely covering His head, even his eyes, so that He could not open them because of the pain. I saw His thirst, His tears, His suffering and solitude… All His precious blood was coming down, silently from the cross and covering the rock of Mount Calvary. I could hear the drops of blood hitting the ground, I heard the people screaming at him, mocking Him. And in the midst of all of this drama, I saw His eyes gazing at me, penetrating the most intimate part of my soul, seeing me with great love, exactly as I am, exactly as He created me. And I heard inside of my heart His voice confirming me: “Yes, you have been here, you were there that day. You were present because during my whole passion I was thinking of you, I was loving you, I was redeeming you, I was doing it FOR YOU”. I don’t remember how much time I spend there praying, but it was long and at the same time it seemed like seconds… Many tears of gratitude came out of my heart and eyes; I couldn’t stop thanking Him for His forgiveness, His magnanimous love, His humility, but especially for His PASSIONATE LOVE FOR MY SOUL. . I have never experienced a love like this and I know that nobody will ever love me with the intensity, purity and passion that He does.
What does the PASSION of Our Lord tell you? What do you think when you see or contemplate a crucifix in a Church, or in home? I see LOVE. A burning love that has no limit, that is infinite, that is full of goodness. A Love that has CHOSEEN FREELY to give His life: “Nobody takes my life away, I give it freely”.
Do you realize that you were also there that day? From the cross He wants you to believe that YOU ARE LOVED, personally loved.
As Holy Week approaches, take a moment to pray before a crucifix… without a time limit. Go to a Church with a big crucifix. Go without a watch, without a phone, without your to- do list… leave all outside. Just kneel before Him crucified and let yourself be LOVED. Enter into His heart a try to penetrate his sentiments: What were you feeling Lord? Why did you do this? Why to this extreme? Were you thinking of me?
Contemplate. Let it sink in. Ask for the grace to experience His real, personal and passionate love for YOU.
Many times I have been asked why I consecrated my life to Christ, why did I leave everything to follow Him, why I am not getting married etc. My main response is that He called me, He pursued my heart in a very personal way, but it is more than that… I could say like the prophet Jeremiah: “You seduced me Lord, and I let myself be seduced”. He won over my heart completely with His Passion, with the love that He showed to me on the cross. My answer to my consecrated life is that HIS PASSION IS MY PASSION.