The Descending Way of Jesus

The Descending Way of Jesus

March 13

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Jesus presents to us the great mystery of the descending way. It is the way of suffering, but also the way to healing. It is the way of humiliation, but also the way to the resurrection. It is the way of tears, but of tears that turn into tears of joy. It is the way of hiddenness, but also the way that leads to the light that will shine for all people. It is the way of persecution, oppression, martyrdom, and death, but also the way to the full disclosure of God’s love. In the Gospel of John, Jesus says: “As Moses lifted up the snake in the desert, so must the Son of man be lifted up” (John 3:14–15). You see in these words how the descending way of Jesus becomes the ascending way. The “lifting up” that Jesus speaks of refers both to his being raised up on the cross in total humiliation and to his being raised up from the dead in total glorification. . . .

Each one of us has to seek out his or her own descending way of love. That calls for much prayer, much patience, and much guidance. It has nothing at all to do with spiritual heroics, dramatically throwing everything overboard to “follow” Jesus. The descending way is a way that is concealed in each person’s heart. But because it is so seldom walked on, it’s often overgrown with weeds. Slowly but surely we have to clear the weeds, open the way, and set out on it unafraid.

Henri Nouwen

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