My husband and I are driving to Chicago to an annual Catalog meeting for St. Mary's Bookstore. We have had a visit at the store from the founder and manager of The Shrine of Christ's Passion and they have invited us to stop by anytime and see the Shrine. This time seems logical.
We venture directly into the gift shop and tell the ladies behind the counter where we're from and suddenly a man approaches dressed in yard maintenance clothes and re-introduces himself as Frank Schilling. Says he's been working in the fields but he stops everything he's been doing and spends time with us. He shows us all around the beautiful gift shop and we talk at length about what's selling and displays. He has gone to many different shops around the country and gotten ideas about how to display. They have done a wonderful job.
He then takes us outside and starting in the front with the Shrine of Our Lady of Grace, the original statue that his grandfather brought over from Italy, he fills us with stories of faith and love. He explains the building up of the land and the moving in of the dirt and the rock and the discovery of the artist. He explains the words and the voice and the intention of the layout and the connection of the Passion of Christ walk from Our Lady up to St. John Church.
We join Jesus at the Last Supper
Sit with the sleeping Apostles as Jesus prays at Gethsemane
Hear Pilate sentence Jesus
Walk with Christ
To the Crucifixion
We took quite some time just to get to this point. We see the sweat on Jesus' face in the Agony of the garden. We see Pilot wash his hands, pleading innocence. We walk and we listen to the recordings at each Station. We witness those who are with him along the way. We see Jesus fall. We share the sorrow we see on His Mother's face. We see Simon help Jesus carry the cross and Veronica wipe His Face, the image left in her cloth. He speaks to the women of Jerusalem and He is stripped of His cloths by the soldiers. Then, we hear the pounding of the hammer as he is nailed to the cross He has dragged up this hill. He is Crucified. But, it is not the end of the story. We witness...
He is taken down from the Cross and placed in His Mother's arms.
He is laid in the Tomb
He is Risen
He meets Mary Magdalene
He Ascends to Heaven
The challenge of the Shrine is to "come and journey" and to take Jesus with us as Disciples, to spread the Good News and to change the world.
Today, with all that is happening in our world, may the peace of the Risen Christ guide us and guard us. May we share the love of the One who gave His life so that we can be saved.