At the heart of Passionist spirituality is contemplation of the Passion the suffering and the Cross – of Jesus Christ. It is vital to understand this correctly. St Paul of the Cross called the Passion the most overwhelming example of the love of God – it is this overwhelming love which we contemplate. Our spirituality is simple but very, very deep. St Paul of the Cross compared it to a bottomless ocean, and said that “the Passion will teach you everything”.
Our Love for the Crucified
By contemplating the Passion we draw close to the self-emptying love of Christ. This in turn helps us to love God and neighbour, to turn to the crucified ones of our world and to respond to them with a love which comes from Christ within us. Passionist spirituality should always have an outcome in our relationship with others, especially those who are suffering in any way. In this way we can then go out and witness to and preach the Good News.
Contemplation and Meditation
How do we contemplate the Passion? There is no set formula – different things will help different people. Some find it helpful to meditate on the Stations of the Cross, or the Sorrowful mysteries of the Rosary for example. Thoughtful reflection on a crucifix, a painting or an icon is helpful. Of course the Passion in the Scriptures and in the Eucharist is always central.
Silence, Solitude, Fasting
Silence and solitude have traditionally been key aspects of Passionist spirituality – making time to be alone with God. Fasting on Fridays is an ancient Christian tradition, and is one way of especially remembering the Passion on the days associated with Good Friday. A pause for a moment of prayer at 3pm is another way.
Meditating on the Gospels
A good way of prayer is to use the Passion narratives of the Gospels, for example the last three chapters of Luke’s Gospel. Set aside some quiet time, introduce your prayer by asking the help of the Holy Spirit, then read a few verses. Remain in silence with these verses, letting them speak to the depths of your heart. The next day, move on to the next few verses, or if you want to go deeper into the text, repeat the same verses for a few days. As you consider what the verses are saying, always read them through the lens of the love of God.
Connecting with Daily Life
In these ways we can connect our prayer, our contemplation and meditation, with our daily lives, and see the ongoing Love of God and Passion of Christ in the lives and sufferings of ourselves and others, as well as local and world events.
Here are just a few reflections, prayers and quotations which are special to us as Passionists:
Some of the key prayers that form part of our daily rhythm of life.
That oppressed people and those who oppress them, may free each other...
The Litany of Reconciliation, based on the seven cardinal sins, was written in 1958 by Canon Joseph Poole, the first Precentor of the new Cathedral.
What we do is very little. But it is like the little boy with a few loaves and fishes...
The great danger in today’s world, pervaded as it is by consumerism, is the desolation and anguish born of a complacent yet covetous heart...
Compassion asks us to go where it hurts, to enter into the places of pain, to share in brokenness,fear, confusion, and anguish...
The Congregation of the Passion is a Religious Order of men in the Catholic Church. In England and Wales, the Order forms the core of our Passionist communities.
Find out more about the varied communities that have grown within the UK Passionist family.
Passionists in England and Wales see the crucified God in the crucified people of this age, and the crucified Earth. Read more about what this means.
The Passionists are a Catholic Religious Order, as well as a worldwide family who dedicate themselves to Passionist principles.