Vía Dolorosa of Love…

Vía Dolorosa: (Latín, ‘Sorrowful Way’ or ‘Road of Pain and Suffering’) The route in Jerusalem traditionally believed to be the path Jesus walked His last earthly day to crucifixion on Mount Calvary, Golgotha.

As I ponder the last hours of the Savior’s life I think about how we could be more like Him. While we can atone in our own small ways for some of the wrongs or injuries that we commit, we could never be like Christ in the sense that we could do what He did on His Vía Dolorosa for all mankind, or even for ourselves. His infinite atonement is all encompassing, all healing, all comforting, and resolving all. Indeed, we cannot do all, we can hardly do the least of all. Yet we can be like Christ.

The path of the Vía Dolorosa in Jerusalem, 2018.

As I went through my teenage years and young adulthood I had a terrible and unforgiving temper, brought about in large part due to the evil deeds of others. I know that it was by the healing hand of the Savior that I was able to overcome that evil within me and forgive, yet once His healing hand cleansed and renewed my heart it fell more greatly upon me to maintain the charity necessary to be humble, patient and forgiving.

The path of the Vía Dolorosa in Jerusalem, 2018.

While I still struggle to be the good man that my Savior would have me be, I do feel the pure love of Christ in my heart that brings me the peace and patience necessary to forgive those who trespass against me. My struggle continues, and I have Jesus Christ to look to as an example of one who exercised the pinnacle of patience and long-suffering. When it is said that He descended below all things, that included the worst insults and degradation that men could place upon other men. Although sometimes I feel that I have suffered such, I have felt only a tiniest morsel of man’s inhumanity to man, and Jesus experienced it all in compounded extremity.

Ecce Homo (Behold the Man!) by Antonio Ciseri

As we look to the last hours, the last day in the life of Jesus Christ, we see a man who walked the long path, made that painful journey on the Vía Dolorosa of eternity, bound as a prisoner from Gethsemane to halls of injustice, scourged and treated with indignity and betrayal, and then bearing that cross upon His back to Golgotha and crucifixion. Oh, what a sweet blessed gift our Lord has given us. As Elder Jeffrey R. Holland testified, “Because Jesus walked such a long, lonely path utterly alone, we do not have to do so. … Trumpeted from the summit of Calvary is the truth that we will never be left alone nor unaided, even if sometimes we may feel that we are” (General Conference, April 2009). We have all felt alone, but we have never felt utter aloneness as our Savior knew. He endured it all, crying aloud, “My God, my God, why hast thou forsaken me?” (Mark 15:34), even to feeling forsaken on the cross, that forsaken we shall never be.

Golgotha, the Place of the Skull, where the Savior was crucified, Jerusalem, 2018.

Yet in His anguishing sorrow, feeling charity for all, His pure love, He showed compassion for His mother, seeing to her needs, and a forgiving heart to His crucifers. “Father, forgive them; for they know not what they do” (Luke 23:34). So too should be we, in our hours of grief, pain, and sorrow, thinking of others, and in betrayal having hearts ready to forgive. As President Henry B. Eyring taught, “We must forgive and bear no malice toward those who offend us. The Savior set the example from the cross” (General Conference, April 1998).

“The Crucifixion” by Harry Anderson

May we follow the Savior’s example of charity. May we be not easily provoked. May we suffer-long and bear all. May we seek not our own. May we have the pure love of Christ, His all encompassing, enveloping and elevating love illustrated in our thoughts and actions always. As we traverse our own Vía Dolorosas, let us remember that we do not walk alone, but with Him. Because of Him, His lonely walk, we will overcome and never be alone, always in His love. In the name of Jesus Christ, amen.

“Jesus Is Scourged and Crucified”

Daniel Malcolm is an entrepreneur, journalist, photographer, husband to Monica and father of twelve. He is a member of The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints and is a witness of the gospel of Jesus Christ and His Atonement.