As prescribed by Paulina Constancia
When they came to the place called the Skull, they crucified Him …Jesus said, “Father, forgive them, for they do not know what they are doing”…There was darkness over the whole land until the ninth hour…and Jesus cried out with a loud voice, “Father, into your hands I commend my spirit.”
Source: Regnum Christi
The place of the Skull, also called Golgotha, was just a garbage heap outside the gates of the sacred city of Jerusalem. So, when Jesus was led outside the walls to die in the city dump, the Jewish leaders were exiling him not only from their city, but also from his unique heritage as a son of Israel. He was being cut off from his own people and from a place deeply associated with his cultural identity. At the same time, Jesus experienced a profound interior darkness on the cross, a descent into the experience of total abandonment by his Father. Because God is holy and Jesus was the Lamb burdened with all of human sin from the start of human history to the end, his punishment was to be exiled from the presence of the Father, and to die in that darkness, buried under the trash of all our sins. He was cut off from both his people and his God. What tremendous, aching solitude he must have experienced! And what a sense of being rejected, unwanted, and stripped of everything that was most sacred and beloved to him.
As human beings, we need relationships in order to be whole and complete. We need others, and most of all, we need God; these relationships make us whole, human, and happy. Some people inflict a terrible isolation on themselves by turning away from God or by making themselves inaccessible to other people. At times, this can be the result of sin—inflicted or received—or it could be a way of guarding one’s own wounds, punishing oneself or others, or acting out a twisted self-concept of unworthiness. But self-imposed isolation has the unfortunate consequence of shielding people from the experience of being loved and understood by others, of belonging, and even of being redeemed. We discover our own value not by self-appraisal, but by experiencing how we are loved and valued by God and by others; our identity is illuminated by our relationships. A life lived without God and others is a kind of living death. In this mystery, we can pray for all those who live their days in the darkness and loneliness of a personal Calvary.
“Over the years, I have come to realize that the greatest trap in our life is not success, popularity, or power, but self-rejection. Success, popularity, and power can indeed present a great temptation, but their seductive quality often comes from the way they are part of the much larger temptation to self-rejection. When we have come to believe in the voices that call us worthless and unlovable, then success, popularity, and power are easily perceived as attractive solutions. The real trap, however, is self-rejection. As soon as someone accuses me or criticizes me, as soon as I am rejected, left alone, or abandoned, I find myself thinking, “Well, that proves once again that I am a nobody.” … [My dark side says,] I am no good… I deserve to be pushed aside, forgotten, rejected, and abandoned. Self-rejection is the greatest enemy of the spiritual life because it contradicts the sacred voice that calls us the “Beloved.” Being the Beloved constitutes the core truth of our existence.” ― Henri Nouwen