Good Friday Reflection
Posted on April 10, 2020 by Julian Smith
For Sri Elknath Easwaran, an Indian guru who founded the Blue Mountain Center of Meditation in California, ‘…the cross is a gift from Infinite Mercy and our response must be to practice patience and mercy.’
One of his students wrote:
“One day our hosts [at a retreat in the Southwest] took us to see a stunning chapel built up against the red sandstone of the desert hills. As we entered, I felt as if I had received a blow. Right in front of us rose a lifelike sculpture of Christ in agony on the cross. The eyes were hollow with pain and the mouth seemed to be crying out, ‘Haven’t I suffered long enough? Can’t you all join hands now and lift me down from this cross?’
“There’s an old saying: You can’t have Easter without Good Friday. Many people today express the desire to have an open heart, a loving heart, a compassionate heart. Well, how do you open your heart? Usually, it’s broken open. Jesus on the cross breaks your heart. He breaks it open. You can’t look at the crucifixion without having an experience of compassion. Only a heart broken open — one that can have compassion for those who suffer — can truly appreciate the new life represented by Easter.”
“Whenever we utter an angry word or raise a hand against our neighbor, we are driving in another nail to keep Jesus up on that cross. The principle underlying the Passion is that out of his infinite mercy, the Lord has taken our suffering upon himself. As long as any living creature is in pain, so is Jesus, for he lives at the heart of all. Wherever violence breaks out, no matter how cleverly we try to justify it, we are crucifying the spirit of Christ.”
” ‘Patience’ and ‘passion’ both come from a Latin word meaning to suffer or endure. When we speak of the Passion of Christ, we are recalling the suffering he endured on the cross. But it is good to realize that whenever we practice patience — cheerfully bearing with somebody who is irascible, or enduring discomfort rather than imposing it on others — in a small way we are embracing the principle of the Passion. Each of us can bear a little of such self-denial, and with practice, our shoulders can grow broad enough to carry some of the burden of those we love. In this way, the mystics tell us, by practicing mercy throughout our lives, we take upon ourselves some of Jesus’ burden of pain.”
O Tree of Calvary,
Send your roots deep down
into our hearts.
Gather together the soil of our hearts,
the sands of our fickleness,
the mud of our desires.
Bind them all together,
O Tree of Calvary,
interlace them with Thy strong roots,
entwine them with the network of Thy love. AMEN
(An Indian Christian, ‘Morning, Noon & Night’; adapted)
Crucified Christ, help us to:
Bear the burdens of others.
Practice mercy. AMEN