There is a phrase I learnt from a US Podcast on the series Lost – ‘it got a little bit dusty in the living room’ – when you are trying to blink back the tears watching a movie.  I am a real softy when it comes to that – but when my eyes get a bit moist I pretend I have hay fever or something and am trying to get the pollen out! Well in The Passion of the Christ there is always a moment that gets a bit dusty for me – when Mary is trying to follow the Via Dolorosa of Jesus – as he carries his cross to Golgotha.  Mary is pressing herself against the wall – in horror at how her son is being treated – not being able to watch but also not being able to tear her eyes away. The director, a certain Mr Gibson, masterfully intertwines this with a flashback of Jesus as a little boy.  He falls and grazes his knee – and crying in pain – Mary does what all mothers would do, she drops her washing and runs over to him.  Of course, cut back to the present and Jesus – the man – falls under the weight of the cross, at which point Mary appears at his side. “See mother – I make all things new” he croaks as he strains to get up….

The grace of the Third Week that Ignatius wants us to pray for is to ask for grief with Christ in grief, anguish with Christ in anguish, tears and interior pain at such great pain which Christ suffered for me.  It is tough and very difficult to receive the graces – withouth being voyeuristic in some way. Of course we understand the throry –  focus on the humanity of Jesus by pointing out how his divinity hides itself. Greater love has no one than the person who lays down one’s life for one’s friend…. Jesus does this for us individually to help us overcome our complicity with evil…. This is all fine – but how can we really share in that grief?

For me a key to this week is to witness the passion third hand…. i.e. watching Mary watching her son.  Please keep us all in your prayers – the darkest hour is just before dawn.

Please leave comments – but don’t expect an instant response – I won’t be on-line till December.  This post was written and  automatically scheduled before I entered my month of silence!