One of my favorite images of Our Lord is the one known as Christ the Bridegroom. It is also called Extreme Humility, the Ecce Homo (Behold the Man), and the Divine Savior. It depicts Christ after the scourging, standing before the crowd wearing the crown of thorns and the red robe. His hands are bound in front of Him and His head is bowed, although in some versions He is gazing directly at the observer. Reflecting on this image and its title of Christ the Bridegroom brings us to the realization that Jesus truly wants this type of relationship with us, not just a friendship but a true marriage of Bridegroom and bride, the bride being our souls.
In many wedding photos, the bridegroom is dressed up nicely in a tuxedo, wanting to look his best for his and his bride’s special day. In the image of Christ the Bridegroom, however, we see the Bridegroom battered, beaten, and stripped of everything. Jesus is showing us that this is how a bridegroom should be for his bride, emptying himself to provide for her and support her. And it is how He wants to be for us if we let Him in. He will never betray or abandon us, and He has already emptied Himself for us as proof, suffering and dying on the Cross. On those steps in front of the Praetorium, He is saying “Look, I am here, I won’t hurt you. Just come to Me, tell Me everything.” Especially for those who are or have been in difficult marriages, this idea of the Bridegroom Who will never hurt or abandon you is particularly comforting. However, the invitation is of course for everyone. Jesus wants each one of us to open up our hearts and souls to Him and let Him take our souls to Himself as a bridegroom does when marrying his bride. If we accept the invitation, we will always be happy.
If you never have, take some time to sit with the image of Christ the Bridegroom. What is Jesus saying to you specifically? How can you open your heart even more to Him?