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Day 40:  To Live As Jesus Lived

Day 40: To Live as Jesus Lived

Both Anne Catherine and Maria sharply condemned the wickedness of the historical figures who took part in the torture and murder of Jesus. But never in the visionaries’ reports do we encounter self-righteous smugness. Instead, we hear the women’s humble and repeated confessions, the bitter self-reproaches of two souls who were thoroughly convinced that they, too—though they lived many centuries after the fact—had a hand in Our Lord’s execution.

The sacrifice of the Lamb of God, they knew, was a sacrifice for all time (Hebrews 9:26–28). His Blood, like His steadfast love and His faithfulness, extends to all generations, because all generations are in desperate need of its power (Psalm 100:5; Romans 5:18–19). The debt He paid was a debt that we all have incurred by our sins. Isaiah tells us, “All we like sheep have gone astray … and the Lord has laid on Him the iniquity of us all” (Isaiah 53:6).

So each of us, by our wrongdoing, has played our own role in the passion story. Each one of us, at one time or another, has been a Judas, a Peter, a Caiaphas, a Herod, or a Pilate. Were the visionaries simply indulging in the perverse pleasures of self-loathing? By no means! Both women recognize the words from John’s first letter. “If we say we have no sin, we deceive ourselves, and the truth is not in us. If we confess our sins, He is faithful and just, and will forgive our sins and cleanse us from all unrighteousness” (1 John 1:8–9).

Reflection on Our Lord’s passion blossoms in contrite confession, which in turn bears fruit—not of self-hatred, but of divine pardon, and a renewed resolve to live as Jesus lived.

And so we pray, on this final meditation of our Lenten journey, Create in me a clean heart, O God, and renew a steadfast spirit within me, so that I may glorify you in every word I speak, and every action I take. In the Name of the Father, and the Son, and the Holy Spirit. Amen.

From the Visions of Blessed Anne Catherine Emmerich

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