Praying the rosary is one of the best-known methods for reflecting on the passion of Christ, particularly the Sorrowful Mysteries. But there are also some other wonderful ways to meditate on the sufferings of Jesus, which may be helpful to try.
Here are three spiritual practices you may not have considered before:
1. Recite a poem to Jesus.
This is a beautiful sonnet to Jesus that you should consider reciting. It was originally written in Spanish by an anonymous writer, but some have speculated that it was authored by Saint John of Avila.
SONETO A CRISTO CRUCIFICADO
No me mueve, mi Dios, para quererte
el cielo que me tienes prometido,
ni me mueve el infierno tan temido
para dejar por eso de ofenderte.
Tú me mueves, Señor, muéveme el verte
clavado en una cruz y escarnecido,
muéveme ver tu cuerpo tan herido,
muévenme tus afrentas y tu muerte.
Muéveme, en fin, tu amor, y en tal manera,
que aunque no hubiera cielo, yo te amara,
y aunque no hubiera infierno, te temiera.
No me tienes que dar porque te quiera,
pues aunque lo que espero no esperara,
lo mismo que te quiero te quisiera.
A SONNET TO CHRIST CRUCIFIED
I am not moved, my God, to give You love
by thoughts of heaven that You’ve promised me;
nor am I moved by thoughts of dreaded hell
for that alone, to cease offending Thee.
You are what moves me, Lord; I’m moved to see
You on a cross and mocked with every breath;
I’m moved to see Your body racked with wounds;
I’m moved by Your affronts and by Your death.
I’m moved, in sum, by love for You so great
that I would love You were not heaven there,
and I would fear You, if there were no hell.
You need give me no prize to love You thus,
for even if what I hope I hoped not,
As I now love You I would love You still.
2. Spend time looking at Christian art.
Meditating on the sufferings of Christ can help us to understand our own sufferings. Sometimes visual art is a helpful way to do this, particularly those depicting the crucifixion of Jesus painted by the old Masters. The video below shows you the detail of the stunning painting titled The Descent from the Cross, by Rogier van der Weyden. It is located in the Museo del Prado in Madrid.
3. Imitate the saints: spend a few quiet moments reflecting on Jesus' passion.
The passion of Jesus has been a beloved theme for prayerful meditation for many of the saints throughout the whole course of Church history.
This is what Saint Alphonsus de Liguori tell us about the Passion of Christ:
"Our time is no time for fear as we are witnesses of a God who gave up His own life out of love for us. The Passion of Jesus was an excess of the love of God, so anyone who meditates on it, will follow Him to the end."
Saint Albert the Great, who had Saint Thomas Aquinas as his student, learned in a revelation that,
"By simply thinking of or meditating on the passion of Jesus Christ, a Christian gains more merit than if he had fasted on bread and water every Friday for a year, or had beaten himself with the discipline once a week til blood flowed, or had recited the whole Book of Psalms every day."
St. Teresa of Avila would often start with spiritual reading to help her begin her meditation. You can find a selection of Catholic books that focus on the Passion of Christ here.
How do you meditate on the Lord in a way that helps your soul the most? Please share with us and our readers!