“My soul at once becomes recollected and I enter the state of quiet. Everything is stilled and the soul is left in a state of great quiet.” (St. Teresa of Avila)
As we enter into Holy Week we are invited by God into a state of quiet recollection in prayer as we contemplate Jesus in His Passion, as we “look upon the one they have pierced.” (Zechariah 12:10). The appropriate form of prayer is that of silent gazing, a silent gazing on the person of Jesus, a loving gaze and a total surrender to Him in which I put aside my own thoughts, my agenda and my struggles. I surrender my self-preoccupation and allow love for Him to be stirred, awakened within me in the silence.
We sometimes flinch and turn away from the silence because we cannot bear our own pain and we cannot bear the full impact of the suffering of Jesus. “He had no special beauty or form to attract us; there was nothing in his appearance to make us desire him. He was hated, despised and rejected. A man of suffering, acquainted with grief. People would not even look at him, turned their backs, hid their faces from him, averted their gaze.” (Fourth Song Of The Suffering Servant, Isaiah 52-53). But if we are to experience full blessedness of Holy Week and Easter then we should not turn away; we need to keep on gazing.
Fr. Luigi Giussani, founder of Comunione e Liberazione, speaks about spending Holy Week simply looking on the face of Christ as the way to being changed or transformed. If we spend our energy in this sacred time getting caught up in our sins or wanting to be perfect we will end up tired and unchanged at the end of it.
“Looking Christ in the face changes us. But to be changed we need to really look into his face with the desire for good, desiring truth.”