XI & XII
“You will never know the price.”
Those were the words I heard whispered in a very realistically vivid dream I had one night. In my dream, my sister and I walked into a store, seemingly somewhere in Mexico. The large shop doors were propped opened. Items spilled out onto the sidewalk as they typically do in touristy towns in the tropics. There were all kinds of things to capture our attention: pinatas, pottery, curios, embroidered dresses, and the like. As you entered further, a long glass case containing beautiful jewelry was on display. As I bent over to examine what was in the case, I was intrigued by row after row of very ornate and beautifully crafted crucifixes. I began to look at each one. How pretty they were; some with jewels, some with scroll work, some large, others quite small. I then noticed that all of the price tags had been turned face downward. I could not tell the price of any of them. I tried to signal to a shop worker to ask her to help me and, as I did, I noticed, that lying on the floor behind the case, much to my great horror was a large, rough, wooden cross, and on it was nailed the actual crucified Jesus. He was in such anguish-- pale, naked, bleeding. I could see Him moving, slightly shifting His weight, very quietly moaning. He then looked up at me with such tender and loving eyes, all the while in such unspeakable pain. I could not even breath as I was in such shock. I started to cry and reach for Him and then He simply said, ”You will never know the price…” and I awoke.
Pope Benedict VXI beautifully states this about the high price paid by our Savior: “The heart of God burns with compassion!... The mystery of the heart of a God who feels compassion and who bestows all his love upon humanity. A mysterious love, which in the texts of the New Testament is revealed to us as God’s boundless and passionate love for mankind. God does not lose heart in the face of ingratitude or rejection by the people he has chosen; rather, with infinite mercy he sends his only-begotten Son into the world to take upon himself the fate of a shattered love, so that by defeating the power of evil and death he could restore to human beings enslaved by sin their dignity as sons and daughters. But this took place at great cost—the only-begotten Son of the Father was sacrificed on the Cross: ‘Having loved his own who were in the world, he loved them to the end’ (cf. Jn 13:1).”
Clarence Enzler’s “Everyone’s Way of the Cross”:
Can you imagine what a crucifixion is?
My executioners stretch my arms:
They hold my hand and wrist against the wood
And press the nail
Until it stabs my flesh.
Then, with one heavy hammer smash,
They drive it through--
Bursts like a bomb of fire in my brain.
They seize the other arm;
And agony again explodes.
Then raising up my knees
so that my feet are flat against the wood,
they hammer them fast, too.
I look at you and think:
Is my soul worth this much?
What can I give you in return?
I here and now accept
for all my life
whatever sickness, torment, agony may come.
To every cross I touch my lips.
O blessed cross that lets me be--
A co-redeemer of humanity.
The cross becomes a pulpit now--
“Forgive them, Father. . . .
You will be with me in Paradise. . . .
There is your mother. . . .There . . . .your son. . . .
I thirst. . . .
It is complete.”
To speak I have to raise myself
by pressing on my wrists and feet,
and every move engulfs me
in new waves of agony.
And then, when I have borne enough,
have emptied my humanity,
I let my mortal life depart.
What can I say or do?
I offer you my death
with all its pain,
the time and kind of death
in store for me.
Not by a single instant
would I lengthen my life’s span.
I offer you my death
for my own sins
and for those of all humanity.
My God! My God! Forsake us not.
We know not what we do.
“For you have been purchased at a price. Do not become slaves to human beings.” 1 Corinthians 7:23
Help me to contemplate the extreme love You have for me and never take for granted the price You paid to set me free from all that enslaves me. By Your grace, may the realization and living out this incredible truth, make me free, indeed.
I ask this in the name of the Father, the Son and the Holy Spirit. Amen.