Characteristically for him, they focus religious attention less on the outward facts of what Jesus endured and more on his inward experience—his experience of betrayal and judgment and abuse, as well as friendship and consolation.
For me, they offer a fresh and powerful way to enter into the mystery at hand.
We prayed them yesterday, as we drove north for the holy days. Afterwards we listened to Bach's St. Matthew's Passion. Reading the English translation of the text, I was struck by the ardor and tenderness of its nuptial imagery.
Although my heart swims in tears Because Jesus takes leave of us, Yet his testament makes me glad. His flesh and blood, o preciousness, He bequeaths into my hands.
As he, in the world, with his own Could not think evil, So he still loves them to the end.
I will give my heart to thee; Sink thyself in it, my Salvation. I will submerge myself in thee.
And if the world is too small for thee, Ah, then for me alone shalt thou
Be more than world and heaven.
Tonight at the Vigil, I will be especially attuned to the love story unfolding.