As much as we like to avoid it, we played a central role in Jesus' Passion.
Even though the crucifixion of Jesus occurred nearly 2,000 years ago, as Catholics we believe that the primary cause of Jesus’ death was not the cruelty of the Roman soldiers. It was not the Jewish leaders who were the chief cause of Jesus’ Passion.
The Catechism of the Catholic Church explains how, “In her Magisterial teaching of the faith and in the witness of her saints, the Church has never forgotten that ‘sinners were the authors and the ministers of all the sufferings that the divine Redeemer endured.’ Taking into account the fact that our sins affect Christ himself, the Church does not hesitate to impute to Christians the gravest responsibility for the torments inflicted upon Jesus” (CCC 598).
Jesus died upon the cross for our sins and to save us from that slavery to sin. He freely chose to bear the weight of our sins and to sacrifice himself on the cross for our ultimate salvation.
We often forget about this mysterious reality, and yet it helps us to enter into the story of Jesus’ passion and feel the pain Jesus felt.
Below is a prayer traditionally prayed before a crucifix that highlights this profound truth and asks God for mercy and forgiveness for our sins that caused Jesus so much pain.
My Divine Savior, what didst Thou become, when for love of souls Thou didst suffer Thyself to be bound to the pillar? Ah! how truly then was fulfilled the word of the Prophet, saying of Thee that from head to foot Thou shouldst be all one wound, so as to be no longer recognizable! What shame Thou didst endure when they stripped Thee of Thy garments! What torments Thou didst undergo in that tempest of countless blows! In what torrents did Thy Most Precious Blood gush forth from Thy bursting veins!I know well it was not so much the injustice of the Roman governor and the cruelty of the soldiers that scourged Thee as my sins. O accursed sins, that have cost Thee so many pains! Alas, what hardness of heart, when notwithstanding Thy manifold sufferings for me I have continued to offend Thee! But from this day forth it shall be so no longer. United to Thee by bonds of loyalty for ever, as long as I shall live, I shall seek to satisfy Thine offended justice. By the pains Thou didst suffer when bound to the pillar, by the scourges which tore Thine innocent Flesh, by the Blood which Thou didst shed in such abundance, have mercy on this unhappy soul of mine; deliver me today and always from the snares of the tempter; and when I have come to the end of my exile, bring me safely home to Heaven with Thee.
How to use a sick-call crucifix