Are material possessions and earthly glamour the ultimate values of our lives? What is the real value of man? Does it consists in his outward appearance? No, all earthly glamour will pass.
The meditation and the prayer of the tenth station of the cross (via dolorosa) invites us to meditate on how Christ the Lord was stripped of his cloths. Clothing is part of the primary necessities of life. Clothing gives a man his social position; it gives him his place in society, it makes him someone. Clothing is a symbol of dignity and a sign of wealth. More so in our days, clothing is a mark of our wealth. But, what is life’s greatest value?
Most of us think life’s goal is to make a journey to the top of the best; to get hold of possessions and earthly glamour. But Jesus in his stripped body points to another direction. He makes us aware of the call to let go of desires of success and accomplishment, to give up the need to be in control, to die to the illusion of greatness. In speaking about Christ in the prophetic suffering servant poem, Isaiah spoke about Christ when he said: “Like a sapling he grew up in front of us, like a root in arid ground, without beauty, without majesty, no look to attract our eyes.” (Is.53:2)
Henri Nouwen commenting on the tenth station of the cross writes, “Nothing was left to him. He, the image of the unseen God, the firstborn of all creation, in whom all things were created in heaven and on earth, everything visible and everything invisible, thrones, ruling forces, sovereignties, powers — he was stripped of all dignity and exposed to the world in total vulnerability. Here is the greatest mystery of all time: that where all beauty is gone, all eloquence silenced, all splendour taken away, and all admiration withdrawn, there is it that God has chosen to manifest unconditional love to us.
We must therefore identify that it is in our simplicity, life of detachment and renunciation of earthly glamour and materials possessions that we become more Christlike. This is because it is when we strip ourselves off material possessions and earthly glamour that we become more ready to follow Christ. This is the greatest value of our lives as Christians, that we live in union with God.
In looking at our impoverished selves and the poverty of our fellow human beings as in the stripped body of Christ, we come to discover the immense compassion that God shows to us. And there we know how to give and forgive, how to care and to heal, how to offer help and create a community of love. In the solidarity of poverty, we find the way to grow closer to each other and joyfully to claim our common humanity; where our greatest value lies.
Jesus gave up everything in order to clothe us with his love and righteousness. Let’s pray to put on Christ in our poverty knowing that our greatest value lies in union with him and not in earthly glamour.