Friday, February 27, 2009

Looking for a Good Book?

This year for Lent, I promised myself that I would make an effort to learn more about Our Lord and the Holy Family.

I've been in possession of the book The Dolorous Passion of Our Lord Jesus Christ by Anne Catherine Emmerich for several years , but had never read it. Frankly, the idea of examining every detail of the Passion was unsettling. Even the cover art made me sad, so I put the book in a drawer, resolving to read it someday.

Well, someday arrived and I LOVE THIS BOOK! It is very, very readable and is just fascinating. It provides powerful insight into how much Our Lord loves us, and how much he suffered - willingly - for our sins.

The book is based on the visions of a cloistered German nun. Catholics are not required to believe in this work based on private revelation; however, it has been given the nhil obstat and imprimatur - which indicates that the work has been reviewed by a Church official and was found to be free of moral and doctrinal error.

Here is an exerpt from the Agony in the Garden. At this time, Sister Anne Catherine saw Our Lord entering into a private place of the Garden of Gethsemane to pray.

"... His sorrow and anguish of soul continued to increase, and he was trembling all over when be entered the grotto to pray, like a wayworn traveller hurriedly seeking shelter from a sudden storm, but the awful visions pursued him even there, and became more and more clear and distinct. Alas! this small cavern appeared to contain the awful picture of all the sins which had been or were to be committed from the fall of Adam to the end of the world, and of the punishment which they deserved."

"...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 adorable Person to the justice of his Heavenly Father, in payment for so awful a debt. But Satan, who was enthroned amid all these horrors, and even filled with diabolical joy at the sight of them, let loose his fury against Jesus, and displayed before the eyes of his soul increasingly awful visions, at the same time addressing his adorable humanity in words such as these: ‘Takest thou even this sin upon thyself? Art thou willing to bear its penalty? Art thou prepared to satisfy for all these sins?’ "

"... And now a long ray of light, like a luminous path in the air, descended from Heaven; it was a procession of angels who came up to Jesus and strengthened and reinvigorated him. The remainder of the grotto was filled with frightful visions of our crimes; Jesus took them all upon himself, but that adorable Heart, which was so filled with the most perfect love for God and man, was flooded with anguish, and overwhelmed beneath the weight of so many abominable crimes.

Wow. Perfect, sinless Jesus, saw every sin ever committed unfolding before His eyes.

Infants and children being pushed into the gas chambers at Auschwitz and Birkenau. Every murder, every abortion, every rape, every act of incest. Like the most horrific movie ever made - only completely true. An endless stream of child pornographers and their victims, thieves of every sort, abusers beating and degrading their victims, liars and unfaithful spouses, embezzlers, pimps and drug dealers. Every lie ever told, every penny ever taken, every cruelty ever committed.

I shudder to think of what must have flashed before His holy eyes. Blessed Anne Catherine saw her own sins joining with the others and tears streamed down her face as she watched Our Lord take them as His own.
I think of my own horrible sins.

He selflessly took my selfish sins as His own and was punished for them.

It is hard to understand that kind of love. It must be very big love.

I am so sorry Lord for everything that I have ever done that caused your Passion.

I am sorry for my ingratitude.

I am sorry for my indifference.

Forgive me Lord. Please.

You paid a debt you did not owe
Because we owed a debt we could not pay.

Thank you.

I love you.

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