Monday, March 20, 2006

Lenten Bible Study

Lenten Bible Study 2006

Anne Catherine Emmerich’s book The Dolorous Passion of our Lord Jesus Christ describes Jesus’ suffering as described below. The movie by Mel Gibson was based on this book and describes the final 12 hours of Jesus’ life on this earth. My hope is that you try to participate in Jesus’ sufferings that day.


Ask for the grace to feel sorrow for the sorrowful Christ, anguish for the anguished Christ and to even experience tears and deep grief because of all the afflictions He endured for you.

Betrayal by Judas
When Jesus washed the feet of Jesus it was in the most loving and affecting manner; and in a low voice began to speak to Judas. Judas appeared to be anxious to pay no heed whatever to his words and spoke to John. Peter became angry and exclaimed: “Judas, the Master speaks to thee!” Then Judas made some vague, evasive reply such as “Heaven forbid, Lord!”
Nothing in the whole course of the Passion grieved Jesus so deeply as the treason of Judas. p.31

Agony in the Garden
He fell on His face, overwhelmed with unspeakable sorrow, and all the sins of the world displayed themselves before him, under countless forms and in all their real deformity. He took them all upon himself and in his prayer offered his own Person to the justice of his Heavenly Father in payment for so awful a debt. p. 45

His soul became terrified at the sight of the innumerable crimes of men and of their ingratitude towards God. p.47

During the agony, he saw the tepidity, malice and corruption of an infinite number of Christians, the lies and deceptions of proud teachers, the sacrileges of wicked persons, the fatal consequences of each sin and the abomination of desolation in the kingdom of God, in the sanctuary of those ungrateful human beings whom he was about to redeem with his blood at the cost of unspeakable sufferings. p.52

“O my Father, can I possibly suffer for so ungrateful a race? O my Father if this chalice may not pass from me but I must drink it, thy will be done!” p.55

A soldier brought the remnant of and old scarlet cloak and draped it around his neck while the rest bent their knee before him – shoved him – abused him – spat upon him - struck him on the cheek, because he had refused to answer their king – seized him while pretending to pay homage – threw mud upon him - seized him by the waist, pretending to make him dance; then, having thrown him down, dragged him through a gutter which ran on the side of the court, thus causing his sacred head to strike against the columns and sides of the wall, and when at last they raised him up, it was only in order to recommence their insults. p. 128

I saw blood streaming from his head and 3 times did the blows prostrate him, but angels were weeping at his side, and they anointed his head with heavenly balsam. It was revealed to me that had it not been for this miraculous assistance he must have died from those wounds. p. 129

Condemned to Death
The Blessed Mother approached to hear the sentence of death pronounced upon her Son and her God. The cowardly Pilate, the base judge, in a tremulous undecided voice, pronounced the sentence of death on the Just Man. The sight of the cowardice and duplicity of this despicable being, who was nevertheless puffed up with pride at his important position, almost overcame me, and the ferocious joy of the executioners – the triumphant countenances of the High Priests, added to the deplorable condition to which our loving Savior was reduced, and the agonizing grief of his Blessed Mother – still further increased my pain. I looked up again, and saw the crowd almost devouring their victim with their eyes, the soldiers standing coldly by, and multitudes of horrible demons passing to and fro and mixing in the crowd. p. 152

Pilate was a proud, superstitious and irresolute pagan that was a slave of the world who trembled in the presence of the true God. p. 155

No sooner did Mary revive than she begged to be taken again to each spot which had been sanctified by the sufferings of her Son, in order to bedew them with her tears; and thus did the Mother of our Lord, in the name of the Church, take possession of those holy places. p.153

The Way of the Cross
Jesus was led through narrow, dirty streets. People stood on the roofs of the houses, and at the windows and insulted him with opprobrious language; the slaves who were working in the streets threw filth and mud at him; even the children, incited by his enemies, had filled their pinafores with sharp stones, which they threw down before their doors as he passed that he might be obliged to walk over them.

Jesus prayed while carrying his cross and continued to pray until his death. p.158

Nailed to the Cross
I saw large bodies of evil spirits under the forms of toads, serpents…urging these wicked men to still greater cruelty, and perfectly darkening the air. They crept into the mouths and into the hearts of the assistants, sat upon their shoulders, filled their minds with wicked images and incited them to revile and insult our Lord with still greater brutality. Weeping angels stood around Jesus, there were likewise angels of pity and angels of consolation. The latter frequently approached the Blessed Virgin and the rest of the pious persons who were assembled there and whispered words of comfort which enabled them to bear up with firmness.

As Jesus hung on the cross darkness enveloped. Jesus was almost fainting because his tongue was parched and said “I thirst.” Those standing round the Cross looked at him with the deepest expression of sorrow and he added, “Could you not have given me a little water while the sky was dark?” John was filled with remorse and replied, “We did not think of doing so, O Lord.” This omission had afflicted Jesus very much. p. 188

The Death of Jesus

When Jesus, the Lord of life and death, gave up his soul into the hands of his Father, and allowed death to take possession of his body, this sacred body trembled and turned lividly white; the countless wounds which were covered with congealed blood appeared like dark marks; his cheeks became more sunken, his nose more pointed, and his eyes, which were obscured with blood, remained but half open. He raised his weary head, which was still crowned with thorns, for a moment, and then dropped it again in agony of pain; while his parched and torn lips, only partially closed, showed his bloody and swollen tongue. At the moment of his death his hands, which were at one time contracted round the nails, opened and returned to their natural size, as did also his arms; his body became still, and the whole weight was thrown upon the feet, his knees bent and his feet twisted a little on one side. p.190

Dismas, the Good Thief, gave a deep groan and expired; he was the first among mortals who had the happiness of rejoining his Redeemer. p.197

The Blessed Virgin and her companions were still standing near, with their eyes fixed upon the Cross. But when Cassius thrust his lance into the side of Jesus they were very much startled and rushed with one accord up to it. Mary looked as if the lance had transfixed her heart instead of that of her Divine Son and could scarcely support herself.

Each heart was overcome at the sight of the blood of our Lord, which ran into a hollow in the rock at the foot of the Cross. Mary, John, the holy women and Cassius, gathered up the blood and water in flasks, and wiped up the remainder with pieces of linen. p.198

Taking the Body Down from the Cross

Joseph and Nicodemus placed ladders behind the Cross and…with great difficulty drew out the large nail that transfixed the feet. Cassius devoutly received the nails and laid them at the feet of the Blessed Virgin. p.205

When the body was taken down, it was wrapped in linen from the knees to the waist, and then placed in the arms of the Blessed Virgin, who, overwhelmed with sorrow and love, stretched forth to receive the precious burden. p. 206

It was absolutely impossible for her to leave the body of her Son in the awful state to which it had been reduced by his sufferings, and therefore she began with indefatigable earnestness to wash and purify it from the outrages of which it had been exposed. Mary drew out the thorns which had remained in the skin on his head with a species of rounded pincers, and sorrowfully showed them to her friends. She washed the wounds of the head, the eyes filled with blood, the nostrils and the ears, with a sponge and a small piece of lined spread over the fingers of her right hand; and then she purified in the same manner, the half opened mouth, the tongue, the teeth and the lips. p. 207

There was a frightful wound on the shoulder that had borne the weight of the Cross. On the left breast there was a small wound where the point of Cassius’ lance had come through, and on the right side was the large wound made by the same lance, and which had pierced the heart through and through. p.208

Once more did Mary embrace the sacred body of Jesus and utter her farewells in the most touching language, and then the men lifted it from her arms on the sheet, and carried it to some distance for burial. p. 209

1. Re-read this in entirety and replace Jesus’ name with your own. Then re-read it again and replace Mary’s name with your own.

2. Talk with Jesus about His Passion. What does He reveal to you?

3. Reflect on the most real part of the passion for you as Sister Emmerich describes it. Make something, wear something or write something that reminds you of that and bring it to Bible Study.

4. Visit a cemetery. Reflect on and appreciate the holiness of the lives that have gone before you. Tell us about that.

5. Imagine your funeral. What do you want people to remember about you….to forget about you? What story do you want them to tell about you?

6. What is the most surprising revelation for you from Sister’s vision?

7. How are you like Pilate?

8. Cassius, who had thrust his spear through Jesus’ side, converted immediately following that act according to Sister’s vision. What would it take to convert you into being the person you are meant to be?

9. Jesus prayed “Father forgive them.” Was Jesus prayer answered?

10. How can this Lent be different from others?

11. Jesus said, “It is finished.” Do you act like that is true or do you still feel the need to be redeemed?

12. We should want not to have things any better than Christ that is to share His most difficult moments. This may include failing in the world’s eyes, rejection, betrayal, being misunderstood, insecurity and loneliness. This is a life of self emptying love. How does my life reflect Jesus’?

13. Ask Jesus what it is like to be stripped of every kind of exterior and interior consolation. What does He reveal to you?

14. Search the headlines in the news for examples of the global suffering of the Body of Christ and bring some examples.

15. Search the headlines in the news for examples of the global sinfulness of the Body of Christ and bring some examples.

16. Pray for the gift of noticing global suffering and sinfulness and for forgiveness for your complacency with regard to those points.

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