I Will Not Abandon You
by Monsignor Charles M. Mangan
Having participated in yet another commemoration of Palm Sunday by way of today’s Sacred Liturgy, I am struck as never before with the recognition of the terrible feeling of abandonment that you underwent almost two thousand years ago.
Yes, I acknowledged this excruciatingly painful sentiment before. But today for some motive (undoubtedly because of Your overwhelming grace), I became deeply aware of that sense of being abandoned that You experienced on the way to Calvary.
Perhaps this is due to several things. Again, Your abundant and life-giving grace tops the list. Another probably is that I have reflected more on this particular aspect of Your Passion and Death than previously. Still another possibly is a communication I received this morning from a lady in which she lamented the betrayal of a friend. And maybe my own feeling of being abandoned at times has contributed to this fresh realization.
Whatever the precise reason, I am conscious that You were rejected not only by the Romans and the ruling class of the Jews but also by Your “friends”—those who, counting themselves among Your followers, once had listened with conviction to Your enlightening words of counsel and encouragement in the Temple and sundry places.
The physical agony You endured is indescribable. But if anything comes close to it, it must be this moral agony of abandonment.
Yet, You accepted that, too, with such remarkable inner serenity, that unshakeable assurance that Your celestial Father loved You, had sent You for my sake and would be with You to the bitter end.
You teach me how to take disappointments and how to rise from them. You instruct me to pardon those who are responsible in part for those letdowns.
I know that this inspiration today relating to Your feeling of being abandoned is designed for a great good. You want me to appreciate Your anguish so that I can sincerely unite my sufferings to Yours. My cross surrendered to You will become attached to Your cross. Then my fierce trials will not be for naught but will be caught up in Your work of redeeming and saving me—and the rest of our brothers and sisters.
I think that had I lived when You were on earth in bodily form, You would have wanted me to stay with You during the evening of Holy Thursday and Good Friday. You would have wished that I, like Your Virgin Mother, Saint John the Evangelist, Saint Mary Magdalene and the holy women, remain with You on Golgotha and try to comfort You as Your final breath was drawing near.
I hope that I would have had the courage and perseverance to do so.
But now I can show my love and good will to You by pledging to follow You always, regardless of the cost.
I will not abandon You.
You can count on me.
Help me to renew often my promise to accompany You in Your brokenness manifested in every corner of our planet, confident that if I die with You, I will rise with You.
Thank You for Your love and mercy. I need both.
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Jesus; Christ's Passion and Death
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