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Ed. The following appeared in The Hebrew Catholic #80

My Thoughts on The Passion of the Christ

Sister Miriam Rose, OCD

I saw the movie twice –an experience I will never forget. In fact, it has taken possession of my life and turned it around to a completely new dimension.

When I went to see it the first time I was struck by Jim Caviezel’s portraying Christ’s passion in such a deep real way that I was not looking at the actor but at Christ going through the Agony in the Garden until His crucifixion. He was not acting a part but lived it, disappearing to give way to the presence of Christ Himself in His sufferings. As I followed the agony, scourging, horrible in its intensity, the Way of the Cross culminating in His crucifixion, tears rolling down my cheeks, I was made deeply aware not only of the horror of sin, but more importantly the greatest lesson of the Passion: the reality of God’s infinite love for each one of us – Jew, Christian, non-Christian alike. The Lord Jesus went through that horrific suffering as “the Suffering Servant”, carrying all the wounds of our sins so that “by his wounds we are healed.”.

The following four points spoke forcibly to me:

1. The look of Jesus all through His passion
2. The silence of Jesus in the face of His accusers
3. Mary, Mother of Sorrows
4. Satan

1. The look of Jesus

A look of love, a look of healing, a look of compassion. No condemnation but understanding our sinfulness, our weakness, and extending His healing merciful love to us, understanding our hearts, our woundedness, our utter misery, and forgiving, as He forgave the thief on the cross, Peter and the apostles who had abandoned Him, the rabble who shrieked for His crucifixion. That look has followed me ever since. Am I always forgiving, extending love and compassion to those who hurt me? Do I look into the hearts of others and see their needs, their woundedness. Do I extend love, empathy and compassion to them instead of blaming and criticising them? Do I look then into my own sinfulness instead of the sinfulness of others, but rather pray a blessing on them?

2. The silence of Jesus in the face of His accusers

In that silence of Jesus where He stood before His accusers, the hidden treasures of the cross shine forth, as numerous as sand on the seashore. As He stood there silent, Jesus fully embraced His cross with all His heart until His heart was pierced. I was deeply convicted: How often do I react in resentment and anger when accused and defend myself in righteous indignation? And here is the Lord of heaven and earth silently offering Himself to the Father in redemptive love and forgiveness!

3. Mary, Mother of Sorrows

Mary spoke very little but was one with Jesus in His sorrows, her look of com-passion and love for her Son and Lord, totally surrendered at one with Him, her Heart pierced with sorrow as she held the dead Christ in her arms for us to see, to experience the tragedy of sin was most convicting. No condemnation but sorrow beyond words as she silently calls us on to pray, to give up sin and turn to God in repentance.

4. Satan

When I went to see the movie the second time I concentrated on watching Satan. As I did, I realized that here we touched upon the whole heart of the matter of the controversy surrounding the movie because it touched most deeply on the mystery of sin. Satan does not want us to see the effects of the evil of sin which Jesus our Saviour took upon Himself. So he is trying to convince that there is no sin, no evil, that Jesus does not have to go through with His passion to redeem us. His attacks are insidious, silent, snaky. The Agony in the Garden so clearly showed His silent workings. When that failed he kept moving silently among the crowd inciting them to claim ferociously the death of Jesus. And now he doesn’t want people to see the atrocious effects of sin by denying sin.

Finally, what deeply impressed me was the scene when, as soon as Jesus breathed His last, Satan was cast into the deep pit with loud screams. And the beautiful ending of the brief Resurrection scene – the victory!

I thank God of having been privileged to see it and ask God’s blessings on Mel Gibson, Jim Caviezel, Maia Morgenstern and all those who took part in this fruitful movie.

Ed Sr. Miriam Rose, OCD is a long time supporter of Fr. Friedman and the AHC. She is a member of the Carmelite Monastery in Nedlands, Western Australia.