Hours of the Passion
The Passion of Our Lord Jesus Christ in the Catholic Church
Then Saint Hannibal, proposes some ways, highly recommended,
to meditate on “The Hours of the Passion”.
· One method is that of meditating one Hour each day by reading it alone, or with one's family, or with others. In this way, in the round of 24 days, one would complete the 24 Hours. A good clock never stops - life never stops...
· A second method would be that of forming groups of various people - 4, 8, 12 or possibly 24 and more - each one committed seriously to doing one of the Hours, assigned for a period of time, before changing the Hour. A good clock marks all the hours - it skips none of them...
· A third method, then, is that of doing at least one hour per day, at the time of the day which coincides to that hour, but in any case, to reach such familiarity with the Hours of the Passion, and to assimilate them in such a way, as to be able to follow their content mentally during the whole day. For this purpose it is very helpful to learn by heart the succession of the 24 Hours with the corresponding title, which is reported on the next page.
To "do" an Hour of the Passion means to read it attentively, meditating on it, contemplating it, making it one's own life... It is not just remembering and compassionating the sufferings of Jesus as something that happened many centuries ago in a far away place; but rather, it is, first of all, to enter into the Divine Will, in which everything is present and in act, and to participate in the interior acts and sufferings of Our Lord, which are present and in act at this precise moment, so as to repeat His life within us, to grow in His likeness, and to pour upon everyone the infinite value, merits and effects of His Passion.
Jesus Himself explains this very important difference: "To repeat my Passion in act in the creature, is different from one who only thinks of my pains and compassionates them. The first is an act of my Life, which takes my place in order to repeat my pains, and I feel I am given back the effects and the value of a Divine Life; while in thinking of my pains and in compassionating Me, it is only the company of the creature that I feel. But do you know in whom I can repeat my pains, in act, of my Passion? In one who has my Will as center of life." (October 24, 1925 Vol. 18)
One can comprehend, then, how the Hours of the Passion are not just a reading, and not even a devotion, but a formation of life: the interior life of Jesus. In this way, day after day, we will feel more and more that Jesus is truly living in us - not just our life, but His very Divine Life.