Commentary on Father Médaille's Contemplationof the Passion and Death of Jesus:

Here in this mystery we see the self-emptying of Jesus at its climax:

"He emptied himself... even to accepting death on a cross." (Phil. 2:8)

Father Médaille has brought us to the apex of our commitment: "to live and to die for him who lived and died for me." This calls forth a great maturity in one's spiritual life. This, Father Médaille says "is the only desire of my soul", "the most cherished expectation of my heart". What a profound and awesome experience of Love has caused this prayer to burst forth from his heart. Father Médaille admits that one is now living in a spousal relationship with Jesus. "The real proof of love is to endure much for those one loves. Endure much for God and you will show clearly that you love Him very much." (Maxim of Love 5:4) Jesus showed he loved us very much for "the Spouse willingly chose... to let go of life to give it to those who choose to live by it."

In this contemplation of the Passion "we can only marvel at your divine patience" in and through all the cruel and extreme torments you endured "along the streets of Jerusalem and in the houses of the high priest". In Jean-Pierre's familiar superlative language, he elaborates on the perfection of Christian patience:

You endured a thousand blows
without complaining,
a thousand calumnies
without defending yourself,
a thousand insults and mockeries
without showing the slightest resentment."

Seeing such divine patience reminds us of our own imperfections in patience in enduring the suffering that happens to us in the course of our lifetime.

"O good Jesus, when will I be able to endure sorrow and pain without complaint,
willingly endure lies and scorn without defending myself?"

Swiftly, Father Médaille answers his own question. "I am incapable of this by myself. But if you help me with your grace, and if you deign to live in me, it will become very natural, since we can do everything in him who strengthens us, that is in you." This is mystical consciousness. This is living at a higher level of awareness. When one is consciously living in Pure Love, one can "do this naturally". It is not meekly turning the other cheek. It is an individuated ego that can endure the onslaughts of the power principle without identifying with it - that is without succumbing to either a defensive violence or despair. The consequence is a gradual transformation of the collective psyche. As the Suffering Servant hymn describes: "He is despised and rejected by men; a man of sorrows, and acquainted with grief... by his knowledge (consciousness) shall my righteous servant justify many." (Is 53) It is into this divine consciousness that Father Médaille invites us to move in our "hour of crucifixion" with the powers of darkness that threaten our very lives and integrity. "But it is not we who have this power and strength; it is your grace and the grace of God your Father with us. "Only in "pure love" will the psyche endure such utter degradation of the ego, physical and psychological torture and punishment. What consoling teaching to be reminded that yes, of ourselves, we can do nothing before the face of such affliction and dread - but filled with Jesus' love and patience and divine help, there is nothing we cannot do. What grace this "nothingness of self" that becomes the fertile ground for such "fullness of being in God." Is that why all the mystics know that suffering is the door to pure love:

"Suffering accepted well is like wood which feeds the fire of divine
love; as you faithfully endure more, using your sufferings well, you
will experience the fire of this love spreading in your heart and
persons who possess this great love are usually led along the path
of great suffering: grasp this truth well and profit from it. A great
fire can hardly keep burning unless one keeps throwing much wood
on it; in the same way, in order to sustain a great love of God
throughout life, one must endure great pain."

(Maxim of Love 5:2)

Father Médaille prays that "Jesus may engrave in our minds and hearts the five sacred mysteries of his passion: the scourging, the crowning with thorns, the carrying of the cross, the crucifixion and your sorrowful death." All throughout the accounts of Jesus' arrest and trial we are moved by the extent and the intensity of the crowds and priests defensive reaction to the psychic threat that Jesus and his teachings provoked in them. It heightens to such a pitch that "Crucify him, crucify him." is their only chant. "The crowd", that part of the collective consciousness that we all bear, vigourously resists the challenging of pure love, of becoming whole. Father Médaille desires that we might willingly undergo some mortification of the senses, some bridling of the emotions in order to restrain those forces within us that want to keep our "shadow" hidden. Encounter with our shadow will always be a painful humiliation. Jean-Pierre's "spiritual exercises" of this "mortificatio phase of our individuation" process are quite descriptive and concrete:

"May I treat my sinful flesh with some severity... Grant that I may endure in my head, pain proportionate to the unworthiness of my thoughts and unbridled imaginings... Punish my pride by humiliation and scorn... Let me be nailed with you on your cross... I shall be with you a "man of sorrows", a "woman of sorrow."

As a sound spiritual master, he knows that we must encounter our "shadow", and our own dark side of personality, before the pure love can be released within us as a "redeeming power" to heal and gradually transform "the collective crowd" - humanity. Father Médaille's longing increases that we all become instruments in the great redemptive work of Christ on the Cross. As Father moves into the mystery and approaches the crucifixion moment, there comes forth an outburst of spontaneous love - a desire for total identification and oneness with Jesus:


Great lovers are usually led through great sufferings. Médaille himself, lived and taught from his own experience. He understood the elements of struggling with the mystery, wrestling with God and one's own psyche, not giving in to simple, pious platitudes but pressing on to the deeper wisdom. In time, after much blood, sweat the tears comes a break-through - an experience of God within the pain. This alone gives meaning, touches upon something real, something that seems capable of going on forever. No one can take it away. It is pure gift. Suffering leads to spiritual growth and transformation... if we embrace it with a response of faith and an attitude of trust. The Cross is the way, indeed the only way because true spiritualization is accomplished solely through "kenosis" - self-emptying. The Cross purifies and refines until nothing remains but the realization that God's love surrounds me and consumes me even in my nakedness and poverty of spirit. Possessing God's love in its purity and perfection, sets the whole person free from the bondage of ego and self. Like Médaille it cries out:

"Deprived of any sensible consolation, I shall be, with you, a "man sorrows".

Totally one now with the mission and ministry of Jesus, the soul longs to share the redemptive work of bringing all souls to Christ... to the cross... to experience their own personal salvation.

"It makes me happy to suffer for you, as I am suffering now, and in
my own body to do what I can to make up all that has still to be
undergone by Christ for the sake of his body, the Church."

(Colossians 1: 24)

Father Médaille concludes his contemplation of Christ Crucified with a fervent prayer of longing for total union of everything in his life, especially the particularities of his personal death, to be in complete unison with the will of the Father. "With my last breath may I be able to say "Consummatum Est. It is finished. I have fulfilled the designs of divine Providence concerning my life and my death. I have spent myself in the service of my Creator and in the gratitude that I owe to the boundless love of my Saviour Jesus." When we gaze upon Christ Crucified we are drawn into the heart of Jesus. "There is no greater love than this, to lay down your life for your friends. You are my friend." Jesus' heart could not be satisfied until it had given everything, down to the last drop of his precious blood. "No one takes it from Me, I give it freely."

With Jesus, with Father Médaille, we too are lifted up, fixed upon the Cross of Christ, looking out with his eyes and his heart upon a broken humanity, longing for healing and wholeness and salvation. Upon the cross of Christ all our own pain, hurts, humiliations, sin and folly are consumed in the great love and "die"! It is finished, all consummated. This has been my destiny to pass through this life with all its s truggles and joys, disappointments and successes, agonies and ecstasies. Nothing has been wasted. All has been contributing to Progress. Teilhard de Chardin spoke of the Cross as the symbol of Progress because it is the Christian sign par excellence of Christ carrying the weight of the world in Progress. For every synthesis, for UNION, there must be a burn-off somewhere. The "cost of suffering" with its intense personal effort and discipline is effecting Progress for humanity. Every time another soul embraces the Cross, more Love-energy spills forth into the universe and joins with Jesus' mission of "May they all be one in us." Father Médaille would draw us to image the heart of Jesus as the converging point of love in which all creation is drawn into unity. He understood that each person's suffering can then be redemptive and contribute actively to the building up of humanity.

"This is the only desire of my soul." Having come to this heightened consciousness of the simplicity and unity of All at the centre, Jean-Pierre is already living in eternity. "He has found his heaven here on earth" as the mystic Elizabeth of the Trinity exclaimed in her wonderful interior 'knowing'. "To you be glory and honour forever." It would seem that Father Médaille himself has come full circle... back to the beginning mystery of the Incarnation... of Jesus showing us how to get into a fundamental attitude of total dependence upon God.

"Now, after contemplating your life and death, there is only one desire
in my soul, one cherished expectation, one affection in my poor heart -
and that is to live and to die for him who lived and died for me."

The whole mystery of Christ's life and our personal life becomes simplified, unified in/by/through LOVE.

"Did 'ere such love and sorrow meet?"