Passio Issue #5 – Lent 2020
This Lent, dare we imagine the world differently? Violence – toward others or towards the earth – is not inevitable. The sword can be put back in its scabbard.
Published Jun 09 2020
W elcome to the new look ‘Passio’, the first issue of 2020. This year is a very special one in the history of the Congregation of the Passion of Jesus Christ as, from December 2020, Passionists worldwide will begin twelve months of celebrations to mark the tercentenary of their founding by St Paul of the Cross.
The cover of this Lenten issue depicts the ‘Chapel of Christ in Gethsemane’, one of the many outstanding features of Coventry Cathedral. This Chapel reminds us of Jesus’ agony in the garden, prior to his betrayal and arrest. It also tells of the visit of the Angel who held the ‘cup of suffering’ to Christ as He prayed on the night before His crucifixion and death.
Power based on force is ultimately fake power.
During Holy Week our thoughts centre, amongst other places, on Gethsemane. In the garden, Peter’s actions can be summed up as sleep, fight and flight (a little later denial can be added). In that same garden, Jesus, in contradistinction, remains vigilant through prayer, exemplifies non-violence and remains faithful to his mission. The Gospels inform us that Peter follows Jesus after his arrest towards the High Priest’s House but at a safe distance, as Jesus permits himself to be handed over and swallowed up by the violence of his Passion.
As we entered 2020, one of the less trumpeted of news headlines concerned sales of arms and military services by the sector’s largest 100 companies (excluding those in China). Such sales totalled $420 billion in 2018, with US companies dominating the top 5 (Lockheed Martin still top of this particularly noxious tree).
Violence – towards others or towards the earth – is not inevitable. The sword can be put back in its scabbard.
This Lent, dare we imagine the world differently? Only in true communion with the Father, that communion which Jesus manifested in his Gethsemane prayer – ‘not my will, but yours be done’ – can we find deep interior peace and draw close to the Lord of love. Will I follow Jesus at a distance, or will I draw as close as the Beloved disciple did when he rested his head on Jesus’ breast at the Last Supper and surely, in that intimate gesture, found his truest home?
St. Paul of the Cross reminds us that, ‘the Passion of Christ is the most overwhelming work of God’s love’. The non-violent Jesus is the perfect image and reflection of the non-violent God. Jesus’ final words to his Apostles before his arrest were words of peace. The first words spoken by the Risen Christ were likewise words of peace. That peace which the world so badly needs must begin in our own hearts and flow out from there to the world.
May the Lord bless us with his peace during this holy season.
Johannes Maertens is a monk and missionary, currently a member of the London Catholic Worker, and involved in pastoral care towards young Ethiopian and Eritrean refugees in London. Peace writer Henrietta Cullinan spoke to him about his experiences of the spiritual life and forms of community in the Calais refugee camp.
A dive into Brother Johannes' work in Calais, and with refugees in London today.
The FaithJustice network has continued to grow and develop since its inception last year. Find out how you can get involved.
Feb 09 2020
Community of the Passion members Lya Vollering and John Thornhill co-ordinated a small exhibition of art exploring the themes of 'Love and Suffering'.
Feb 16 2020
A closer look at Ignatius Spencer's life and legacy - and how it might have been stifled.
Feb 16 2020
An homily from Bernard Longley, Archbishop of Birmingham, given at the Mass for Blessed Dominic Barberi at Sutton Shrine.
Feb 16 2020
In September 2019, The Passionist Congregation in England and Wales issued a statement in recognition of the climate and ecological emergency, as a pledge to work to achieve net zero greenhouse gas emissions in their own operations by 2025 and to call on government to tell the truth about the emergency and to work towards a zero emissions target also by 2025.
Raising the alarm in a spirit of repentance for our complicity in sins against God's earth and God's poor.
Ageing and long-term effects are emerging as issues for the HIV positive community. CAPS are the last remaining charity responding to pastoral and spiritual needs.
Feb 23 2020
John’s life as a Passionist priest has been a diverse one, including many years working as a road-sweeper as a ‘worker priest’.
Jul 23 2019
A truly Passionist experience in Botswana which changed the lives of the Sisters.
Feb 16 2020
A speech by David McLoughlin celebrates the overlooked work of the 'Liverpool three' and considers the mantle on offer to us today.
Feb 23 2020