I feel drained after the Good Friday Liturgy. Despite an evening of laughter, I have returned home feeling tearful. Being so close to Doug’s beautiful funeral on Tuesday, the emotions feel very similar. There was a lot of laughter at the wake afterwards, only to be replaced by sadness later.

This week I have been aware of how things have changed over Lent. Last year there was too much going on, with our reception into the Catholic Church, for me to enter into the Triduum. However afterwards, doing an assignment on the Passion, the horror I had felt for many years dissipated. In its place I was given an awareness of the spiritual work going on underneath the cruelty. Golgotha becomes the Holy of Holies, the place where God shows that his love goes beyond death. It was a theme, which occurred in Fr David’s homily today.

This awareness, still so new to me, has been there all through this Lent, in phrases that come into my mind from things I have read. There has also been something else. Early on, I read part of Isaiah 43. Verse 6 jumped out at me. It struck me that this was describing a parent whose children were missing. Some weeks later, I watched “Changeling” a film based on the true story of Christine Collins, whose young son, Walter, disappeared in 1928. Mrs. Collins never gave up looking for him. Here, again is the strong love of a parent for their child. It was this strength of Love that brought about the Incarnation.

As Lent progressed another strand appeared. Everything I read seemed to speak of sorrow in the World. I was aware of how I contributed to this.

These two strands wound around each other. God longs for the return of those he loves. His plea for their return comes from the depths of his heart: “Do not hold them back. Bring my sons from afar and my daughters from the ends of the earth.” God looks at the world, knowing how beautiful he had intended it to be and how ugly it had become. This longing and sorrow were the aspects of God’s love that I was most aware of and they danced with the lessons of last year. God leaves heaven to come and look for his loved ones in order to bring them back to himself. The cross is where God enters into the sorrow and ugliness of the World, healing it. The place of violence becomes the Holy of Holies.

This week I thought about all I have learnt about the Passion through the Spiritual Exercises. There is an emphasis on suffering with Jesus, having tears and sorrow with Christ in his Passion. We are companions along the way. The sorrow we feel is not our own. It is the sorrow of someone we love. Yet our own sorrow is not incidental here. As Fr David said this afternoon, our suffering is connected to Christ’s.

I have discovered that my fear over the violence of the Passion stopped me being with Christ in his Passion. I remained as far away as I could get. Most Good Fridays have been a struggle because I wanted to be anywhere else but at the foot of the cross. In order for me to begin to do this I needed firstly to let go of my preoccupation with the violence and cruelty. Last year God started this work by giving me an awareness of what was ‘underneath the surface.’ This year awareness of the depths of God’s love and his sorrow, has held in check some of my fear. For the first time today I could, in my imagination climb Golgotha, to stand and watch Jesus die in the company of Our Lady, St John and the women disciples. My fear we still there but less over-whelming. I saw Mary’s suffering as well as Jesus’, the sorrow of John and the women who had spent so much time in his company over the past 3 years. For the first time, I could see beyond myself to Christ’s suffering. In this I am aware that God has given me the gift being caught up in the story of Good Friday.