Friday, April 06, 2012

No Deeper Darkness

I continue today, Good Friday, The Wild Reed's special 2012 Holy Week series by sharing a fourth excerpt from Cynthia Bourgeault's The Wisdom Jesus: Transforming Heart and Mind – A New Perspective on Christ and His Message. (For the first installment of this series, click here.)


The gospels present different takes on the actual three hours of agony Jesus spent on the cross. The Gospel of John presents a Jesus stoically in command of himself throughout the entire ordeal, whose final words, "Consumatum est" ("It is completed"), suggest that he has not lost touch with the deeper meaning of this sacrifice. The other three gospels describe a scene of excruciating physical and spiritual anguish as Jesus is gradually torn loose from his inner bearings and ends his human life in an experience of utter forsakenness: "My God, my God, why have you abandoned me?" Personally, I favor that scenario as more historically likely and also more consistent with the sacramental necessity that Jesus drink to the dregs the full anguish of the human condition. If his sacrifice is to be fully effective, it must penetrate all the way to the root of human darkness, and there can be no deeper darkness than the experience of total existential alienation and meaninglessness.

– Cynthia Bourgeault
The Wisdom Jesus
pp. 117-118

NEXT: When Love Entered Hell

See also the previous Wild Reed posts:
The Passion of Jesus (Part 7) – Jesus Goes to His Execution
The Passion of Jesus (Part 8) – Jesus is Nailed to the Cross
The Passion of Jesus (Part 9) – Jesus Dies

Image: Michael D. O'Brien.

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