We adore you, O Christ, and we bless You, because by Your holy cross, you have redeemed the world.
I am poured out like water,
and all my bones are out of joint.
My heart has turned to wax;
it has melted within me.
My mouth is dried up like a potsherd,
and my tongue sticks to the roof of my mouth;
you lay me in the dust of death.
He has fallen again. The cross weighs down on Him, smashing Him into the dust like a swatted fly. Dust sticks to the blood on His face; it stings His eyes and tickles His already parched mouth. He cannot breathe. He can barely move.
A moment ago, Simon was pressed into service to help Him. Veronica only just wiped His face so He could see. Now, a moment later, He’s fallen again.
God has fallen, in spite of all our help.
The Prosperity Gospel in all of its forms has been proven a lie. Everyone who tells you that you can earn comfort and success in this earthly life by doing the right thing, should stand dumbstruck before this Mystery. Here is God Himself, Who has never in His life done anything wrong, struggling like an insect face-down in the dirt.
Here is God, useless.
Here is God, helpless.
Here is God, out of breath.
Here is God, Who cannot stand.
Love for you brought Him this low. Pure love and nothing else brought Him to the ground. Love for you brought Him from Heaven to Earth. Love for you brought Him to judgement before Caiaphas, Herod and Pilate. Love for you made Him take up the cross and love for you makes Him lie there, under it, kissing the dirt– because the dirt is where you are.
He wanted you to know that when you are useless, helpless, worn out and unable to stand, that is not your fault. When you can’t get back on your feet in spite of the best help, He doesn’t think the less of you. When your cross smashes you like an insect, there He is, breathless, smashed, worthless, lying in the dirt with you.
This is the Glory of Heaven, revealed before our eyes– not that the children of God will have worldly success, but that in our misery, we will find the Lord. Our Lord is not an idol made of clay– He is God and Man, a Man whose blood turns the dust to clay to heal our blindness. He is not a helpless idol propped up by human hands, but a helpless Person who fell despite human attempts to help Him. Our God is the Living God, dying before our eyes– dying for us, that we may not die alone. His blood flows into the soil, and the soil is forever sanctified. From now until eternity, anyone who falls on the ground falls onto Christ. Anyone who is blinded by dust is anointed by Christ so that his eyes may be opened. Anyone who drinks sand when he longs for water, drinks the Blood of Christ. Our suffering and our brokenness are one with the suffering and brokenness of Christ.
He could have given up the Ghost right there– He surely wanted to. But this is not the place for Him to die. This is not the hill that God appointed for the redemption of the world. This is not the place of execution chosen for Him by Pilate. Now is not the Hour of Mercy; that’s a few hours away. Somehow, His love for you gives Him strength.
With the thought of you before His eyes, He stands.
He goes forward, carrying your cross to Calvary.
(image via Wikimedia Commons)
Steel Magnificat will be meditating on the Stations of the Cross on Wednesdays and Fridays throughout Lent. All Stations are linked in this post.