On Good Friday, my family went down to Our Lady of Wisdom on the campus of The University of Louisiana at Lafayette, (UL) to watch the Living Stations of the Cross presents by the college students of Ragin Cajun Catholics. It’s been awhile since I’ve watched a Passion Play done by older kids, or adults. Usually we go and watch the kiddos at school.
Normally the play would start outside on the steps of the Church, but we exited the cafe to rolls of thunder. The sky became a bleak grey, and large drops of rain began to masterfully plow their way to the ground. A thunderstorm rolled in and managed to start pouring right when the play was to begin. So, we made our way back into the cafe and headed into Jean Mard Hall and waited for the actors to begin.
Out of the crowd came this loud sound, someone was screaming “Barabbus.” Not expecting it when it happened, I literally jumped. I was startled to how violent and aggressive the tone of the actor as he began station 1. Jesus’ condemned to death.
Immediately, I was brought into the Passion. Each station visually took me back to that day………. I was trembling inside as the screams echoed in my ears. My heart was crushing as we walked to station 2, Jesus Carries His Cross. As I listened to the words, the screams, the shouts, the violence, my head and my heart sank deeper. Station 3, Jesus falls for the first time. In the mud, Jesus, fell with his Cross, i wanted to run and pick him up.
As we walked along, my 10-year old asked me, “Mom what’s wrong.” I picked up my head and gently said, “Sis, I’m sad that Jesus had to die for our sins. He endured the most brutal beating so that you and I could spend eternity with Him.” Station 4 Jesus meets his mother. Blessed Mother, walk with us, how did you watch your Son be tortured?
Even though we know the words of scripture, each Good Friday when we watch the story, it comes alive more vividly and it calls to mind our own pain and our own passion. Tears came and settled into the corners of my eyes. And as she always does when I’m moved to tears, she came closer to me and watched every move from that point further. 5th Station, Simon of Cyrene helps Jesus carry the Cross.
She made her way to the front to watch closer, encouraging me to come closer as well. Station 6, Veronica wipes the face of Jesus. She too went into the narrative of the Passion. I started watching her.
Jesus falls the second time, The 7th Station. The wind begins to blow again, and the trees start to weep, the water drops fall again to the ground. We open our umbrellas again. The 8th Station, The women of Jerusalem weep over Jesus.
The grass is wet and down goes Jesus. The 9th station, Jesus falls the 3rd time. He rolls down the hill, and when he gets to the bottom, his beaten body stops, and for at least a minute he remains on the ground motionless.
Estelle was watching closely. She climbed higher on the hills to see, and when we got to the 3 Crosses, she climbed the steps so she could watch from atop of what was happening. The 10th Station, Jesus is stripped of His garments.
They throw the Cross to the ground; force Jesus to lay down onto the beams, and they begin to nail his hands and feet. The 11th station, Jesus is nailed to the Cross.
As the hammer was drilling the nails into the hands of Jesus, the song Jesus remember me when I come into your kingdom was on repeat in my head. I only could remember this one line, and I just kept singing it to myself. The 12th Station, Jesus is raised upon the Cross, and dies.
The rain had stopped, and the sun had begun to come out to dry the ground. The light was upon Jesus’ face when he was taken off of the Cross, and handed to His mother. The 13th station.
He was anointed, wrapped, and placed into the tomb. The 14th Station.
We made our way back in silence into Our Lady of Wisdom and Venerated the Cross, in silence. There were so many people, and all I could do was watch as each person went and kissed our Lord goodbye. My heart was so moved by so many emotions.
It took me a few days to process and unwrap what I had watched, and felt in that moment. Each year, I unpack so many emotions of the Triduum, and this year was no different.
But this morning as I watched Estelle open her Easter presents, I was taken aback as she opened the large golden egg that I thought was filled with chocolate.
Estelle wasn’t so happy about the empty egg. Secretly neither was I, because I know that bunny thought there was a hallow chocolate egg inside. We were both shocked, and kinda speechless, but her exact words made me giggle as she processed the very fact that it was empty.
I can picture St. Mary Magdalene in the tomb, and I ’m sure she probably thought the same thing as she entered the tomb. She was looking for Jesus as Estelle was looking for Chocolate, but it was empty.
I watched as Estelle took the large golden egg pieces, and put each side on her ears, and with her big beautiful blue eyes wide open said outloud in disbelief “Mind Blown.”
Perfect words to the witness that the Resurrection did indeed happen!