March 20:

What are we to make of Christ’s words of sheer, seeming hopelessness: “My God, my God, why have you forsaken me?” [MT 27:46]

St. Augustine, the fifth century bishop and Doctor of the Church, suggests that this soulful prayer of the dying savior points to our kinship with Christ.

“He died for our sins, he who is the only Son, so as not to remain alone,” Augustine said. “He who died alone did not want to be alone. The only Son of God made many children of God. By his blood, he bought for himself brothers; he who had been rejected, adopted them; he who had been sold, bought them back; he who had been gravely offended, filled them with honor; he who had been put to death, gave them life.”

Augustine preached that we should take joy in this act of divine mercy—even as we enter this week when we remember Christ’s brutal passion and death. 

Fr. William Nelson, a priest in Japan, once wrote to a friend:

“How we welcome the good news of love poured out! Yes, there is a balm, a fountain, love poured out and bread broken and wine served.”

What more could we ask for?

Our prayer today: Almighty God, we praise you that in your infinite mercy you do not deal with us according to our failings, but treat us with the tenderness of a father.

(Painting by Fra Angelico)