In February of 2004, my parents, my brother, my sister, and myself headed off to the movies to see the Oscar nominated film Passion of the Christ. Knowing how the gory details and potrayal of the death Christ suffered caused many reviewers to find the movie sickening and treacherous, nervousness to see the film consumed me. Seeing the film for myself, I could feel nothing BUT the redemption Christ brought us. Thirteen at the time, I asked my father, "How is this movie any different from other passion films we've seen?" I wondered why so many people did not see the crucifixion the way I did.
Now almost 20 years old, I find my understanding of God's power over sin, pain, and suffering related to my reaction to Gibson's Passion. While some people saw Gibson's portrayal of the death of Christ horrendous, I saw love and reconciliation. The reality of the pain Christ suffered FOR ME was illustrated beautifully in the most real way. Christ loved ME and trusted in God's plan as he was crucified for MY sin...
Last night I attended a Reconciliation service at my university. My Act of Contrition included a daily personal promise to acknowledge Christ's love and trust in me in order to love and trust those I am currently struggling to do so with. Being reminded to ask Christ to walk with me, I remembered the scene from the Passion where one sees Jesus struggling as he carries his cross along the road. What are my crosses?
Since seeing the Passion, Reconciliation as become my favorite Sacrament. Knowing the pain and humiliation Jesus experienced as He journeyed to the cross and was crucified, I find the opportunity to attend Reconciliation a wonderful chance to get another chance. To be forgiven with Open Arms and given the chance to try again envigorates me.
With a daily reminder of God's love and trust in me, my love and trust for Him is slowly but surely helping me to love and trust others. The path Jesus walked, the pain he suffered, and the endless number of opportunities his death has given me to do what is love with his help makes Holy Week the most spiritually confirming weeks for me. As a friend said once to me, "It's so cool to be Catholic. We get so many chances and always welcomed back with open arms!"