Lawrence Person
ill. by John Picacio

In Dublin, One almost got away.

He was halfway out the door when they caught Him, the spikes cast aside, His wounds already healed. It took five strong men to hold Him to the cross while the others drove the nails back in.

I know how hard it must have been. I had cross-watch duty at our church (St. Luke's) last Friday, when Ours awoke and I had to hammer back the spikes. I'll never forget the look of betrayal on His face, the blood from His crown of thorns trickling down into His accusing eyes. He turned back to wood that way, still facing me.

He didn't stop bleeding.

We've grown used to the blood, all of us. When the crisis first started, we had to dump the buckets once a week. Now we have to do it twice a day, and soon we'll be doing it every hour.

But the worst time was when He came alive Sunday morning, while Minister Farley was reading from John. It took Him almost a half-hour to turn back, the sound of the hammers and His screams drowning out the sermon. The congregation had left as fast as they could, their eyes wide with terror and shock.

I pray every night, and when I pray I think about the look in His eyes. I pray desperately for guidance, for a sign that I'm doing the right thing, that I'm still worthy of salvation. And yet I still feel the fear, the cold uncertainty that grips my every waking hour.

But we dare not stop now. I saw pictures of the congregation of St. Jude, the one that let Him escape, the blood oozing from the wounds that appeared in their hands and legs. I saw their faces twisted in pain from the stigmata, their eyes blinded with blood from their invisible crown of thorns, and knew what we had to do.

No one knows how it started, what war or genocide finally tipped the scales against our redemption. All we know is that the period for our grace, once given so freely, has now expired, and the Savior upon which we have all leaned for 2,000 years now wishes an end to His sorrows. Dear Jesus, please forgive us, but we cannot let You go. Is it any wonder that we, frail creatures that we are, run from the shadow of our own Golgotha? Our sins are many, and we dare not bear the weight of our crosses alone.

And so I watch when I have to watch, and nail when I have to nail. And pray.

In fact, I pray now more than ever, four or five hours every night. I pray fervently that Our Lord's bleeding will stop, and that neither I, nor anyone else, will have to see those accusing eyes, or drive in those nails, ever again. And most of all, I pray that there is still salvation, that mankind has not filled our world with so much blood that even the infinite mercy of Our Savior can no longer contain it all.

And still the words of Luke 23:34 haunt me, for though those Roman soldiers may not have known what they were doing, dear God, we most certainly do.