If I had to select one Station that especially convicts me in this Jubilee of Mercy, it is this Eleventh Station: “Jesus is nailed to the Cross.”
As God, Jesus could have released Himself from the hands of His executioners. He did not powerlessly succumb to being nailed to the cross; He Willed it for our salvation.
In allowing Himself to be painfully nailed to His Cross, Jesus modeled for us how to surrender peacefully to the Will of God, especially at times when we are powerless to take matters into our own hands—literally and figuratively to act on our own behalf.
The Divine Mercy Devotion calls us to trust Jesus. I don’t know about you, but trusting Jesus is easier when I feel some degree of control (which to some extent is always an illusion). But it is at those times when I feel totally powerless over my circumstances—when I feel nailed to my cross, so to speak—that I panic rather than trust; that I recoil from the cross, rather than serenely surrendering to it—to Him.
Although we are called to die each day to ourselves (to our selfishness, to our self-centeredness), the ultimate test of whether we can allow ourselves to be nailed our cross in the way that Jesus modeled for us, I think, is in the face of our natural death. If you worked through the Ash Wednesday detachment simulation exercise that was posted previously, you know how difficult that kind of detachment is.
As we come into the world without material possessions, but with our full dignity as humans, made in the Image and Likeness of God, so that is how we leave. No one, no circumstance, nothing that renders us vulnerable and powerless in a natural sense can take away our freedom of will to know, love, and to serve God. Nothing but our own will can separate us from God’s Mercy; as St. Paul says:
“…I am convinced that neither death, nor life, nor angels, nor principalities, nor present things, nor future things, nor powers, nor height, nor depth, nor any other creature will be able to separate us from the love of God in Christ Jesus our Lord.” (Romans 8: 38-39)
Meanwhile, during this Jubilee of Mercy, while we are able, let us reach out to those who feel powerless, who feel nailed to their crosses. Especially, let us reach out to the infirmed, the impoverished, and the imprisoned—the ones that Pope Francis makes a special point of ministering to, as we have witnessed during his televised travels to various countries.
Let us also pray for our brothers and sisters, the souls in purgatory, who pray for us and yet are powerless to pray for themselves. Let us perform that great act of mercy on their behalf. When we feel especially powerless or vulnerable, let us offer our suffering for their speedier release from purification into the ecstasy of the Beatific Vision.
Praise God for His Mercy; for His Willingness to be nailed to His Cross for us.