Christology - The Facts Lead us to a Relationship with Christ!

A couple of weeks ago our formation conference for the week was on Lectio Divina and the priest who was giving the talk at one point spoke about how sometimes even the distractions we find ourselves occupied with when we're trying to pray can be a trigger for prayer, or can be brought into prayer - and thus we not only return our mind/heart to God, but also bring to Him those things which are bugging/concerning us.  Usually I haven't been particularly successful in turning my distractions over to God in this way - it's hard to go from thinking about the pancakes that are on the menu and somehow turn that into prayer, for instance... - but today was different.  Today I spent like 6 hours studying for my Christology final which is tomorrow, and my brain was pretty well past the bursting point when I got into the chapel for my Holy Hour.  So, of course, my mind was filled with the medley of different facts that I had been trying to memorize/organize all day, and I wasn't getting very far in the whole considering God, Who was present before me, and conversion of heart and growing in love and everything...
Previously though, the teacher of the Christology recap class (in English!) had mentioned a couple of times that it was important to take the material we were learning to prayer.  We wouldn't learn about Christ unless we were speaking with Him!  Now, I had sat in the chapel a couple of times and reviewed notes - you know, highlighting about half of the stuff on all 40 pages, and writing comments in the margins, and then dozing off (not very productive in other words) - but today I actually took all the stuff to prayer, and boom, it was amazing.  I was meditating on the sorrowful mysteries while saying the rosary and all of them absolutely came alive with the information and insights that I had been working on today, it was great!  (And that is what this post is about!):
For the Agony in the Garden, my mind was brought to the focus this passage puts on the humanity of Christ - on His intense suffering, on His emotions, on the crushing weight of our sins, on the sweating of blood - but it is in precisely this moment, when the soldiers come to arrest Him, that Christ responds to their demand with "I AM"  Wham!  They hit the ground!  Why?  Because Jesus just spoke the name of God - the Tetragrammaton (we learned about that in Hebrew class!) - and not only that (which was blasphemous in itself) but used it to refer to Himself.  This moment in which we see Christ's intense suffering and weakness is also one that reveals His divinity.  This is where the Church will later be able to come to deeper and deeper knowledge about this very mystery - the hypostatic union, the humanity and divinity of Christ.  The council of Nicea (rejecting Arianism) will be able to say that Christ was fully human and fully divine - not just almost divine (homoiousia, similar in being with the Father), but actually fully divine (homoousia, one in being with the Father).  Why?  Because if Christ isn't fully human and fully divine He can't redeem us (more on that later).  But that's not all!  The council of Constantinople III was also able to affirm that Christ had both a human and divine will.  Why?  Because the hypostatic union - gradually discerned at previous councils - meant that the hypostases (Person) of the Logos, originally solely having a divine nature (as it is with the Father and Spirit) assumed - in time - a human physis (nature) as well, which meant that He had both human body and soul, with all our powers/abilities (otherwise He couldn't redeem body and soul), all the while retaining the Divine will as well.  This is obvious from this text in the double movement of Christ begging the Father to "let this cup pass from me" (His human will), but then immediately follows with "but not my will but thine be done" (His human and divine will are always in harmony with each other).  
For the Scourging at the Pillar I was considering the incredible humiliation and pain Our Lord underwent for our sake.  He accepts the greatest sufferings to be united to our own suffering which we caused by our own sins!  He accepts the greatest humiliations to further unite us to the shame caused by our selfishness and disobedience!  But "by His stripes we are healed"; He chooses to suffer in our place, He takes upon Himself not only our nature but also the punishment we deserve. 
For the crowning of thorns I was considering the titles that Christ had been given throughout His ministry but only accepts them in this moment.  Here (during His passion), unlike many other places in the Gospel, Jesus allows Himself to be called Christ, King, and Son of God.  Why?  Because this is the moment when they finally receive their full meaning.  Messiah or Christ, as well as King, are titles that the people expected to give to a victorious political savior - somebody who will kick the Romans out and bring on God's kingdom.  Of course, here is Christ, under Roman power, beaten, spit upon, silent.  Here, Christ gives the true image of the messiah and king - one who will be the suffering servant foretold by Isaiah, one who will bring God's true kingdom, which is not of this world.  Here, we see that the Son of God spoken of by Daniel and Ezekiel isn't just an angel, or prince, or something, but the God-man, who doesn't come down from the cross, but stays there for us.  Only in the light of the passion do these titles receive their true meaning, only here, bloody, condemned to die, does Our Lord accept them, knowing that there is no risk that they will be misinterpreted to think He is a political, temporal messiah.
The carrying of the cross: Our Lord falls, uniting Himself to our own falls.  Our Lord lifts the heavy cross, uniting Himself to us, who too must carry crosses.  Here the king of the universe, the Lord of lords, Him through whom all was created, needs help to carry His own cross up to Golgotha.  One can see the church - Christ's mystical body - battered and assaulted as all its members (us) struggle on towards Christ - falling sometimes under sin, battered by the powers and hate of the world, humiliated by the weakness of us who make it up... Of course, this is an imperfect analogy, but it is one that deeply shows us the union we have - through the church - not only of Christ's victory over death (a point that Paul emphasizes) but also with His cross. 
And then we reach the crucifixion.  Here everything comes together.  The scandal of Christianity - the paradox of God-made-man, who suffers for us, which every heretic has tried to explain away, but we must accept in faith (Paul again!) - is made obvious with the placard nailed above Our Lord: "Jesus of Nazareth, King of the Jews"  Jesus can't be the messiah, can't be our king, can't be our Lord, can't be God - not only is He nailed to the cross ("crushed by our offences"), but He came from Nazareth.  Yet in His weakness, in His seeming-abandonment by everyone and even God ("My God, My God, why have you abandoned me?").  In this lowest, most crushing, most overwhelming, most painful moment He is called King of the Jews.  Who is the King of the Jews?  God Himself.  He cries out "I thirst" - isn't this another moment of weakness?  No.  He begs that we respond to Him in trust and faith.  He cannot force us, He is nailed to the cross, yet those nails don't hold Him, His infinite love does.  He beseeches us to come to Him, to come to His cross, to embrace Him, bloodied and broken for us.  Aquinas explains how Christ can save us in several ways.  Through merit - He is the head of the church, through which the merits and glory He gains by His obedience to the Father is passed to us (opposite the death and concupiscence passed onto us by the first Adam).  Through satisfaction - He makes up for our sinfulness through His super-abundant love, His charity makes up for our lack of charity, even our actions which nailed Him to the cross.  Through sacrifice - He is the perfect priest, offering the perfect victim (Himself) to God the Father, for us (we can't offer a satisfactory victim to make up for the injustice we have made through our sins, but Jesus can).  Through redemption - He pays the price to God for our freedom, that instead of being slaves to sin and the devil (a punishment we chose for ourselves through sinning), we might be bound to God through love.  But the main reason, and the most profound one, is that Jesus Himself is the agent (efficient cause) of our salvation.  Again, this isn't only in His divinity (though it is principally God who saves us), but also in His humanity (instrumentally - it's only a man that can fully redeem men).  He goes to the full extent of human suffering to save us from eternal suffering separated from Him! 

Jesus cries out "it is finished".  What is finished?  The soteriological [salvific] mystery that He began the night before - when He made Himself our slave, washing the apostles feet and showed Himself God, by instituting the new covenant in His blood with the gift of Himself in the Eucharist (again, we see Jesus showing Himself divine in the moment when He is most humble).  But that mystery  had already began years before in His first kenosis [self-emptying] that took place in His incarnation, when He took upon Himself our nature.  It's incredible, the Logos, the Son from all eternity, of the same substance as the Father and Spirit, became man.  His divinity didn't consume or overwhelm the flesh that He took, not being fully man (Docetism), He actually assumed a human nature (as Cyril affirms)!  As Jesus dies and the world goes dark, it seems as if death and sin have triumphed.  Yet, Christ is the "light [that] shines in the darkness, and the darkness has not overcome it". 
My rosary was finishing: "Oh my Jesus ... save us from the fires of hell, lead all souls to heaven".  As Christ died - as the second person of the Trinity died (the natures cannot be split) - He went as far as He could go out of love for us, to take upon Himself the penalty of sin.  And yet, in this moment - the worst moment of the entire passion - Christ's divinity again is made manifest.  For He triumphantly rises, the tomb is found empty, the Apostles come to faith, and then go to take that faith out to the world!  Death is overcome, sin is conquered, love destroys hate. 
And there you have it!  Distractions aren't always bad, Christology isn't quite as impossible as I thought (and I can remember a bit of it!), and knowing about Christ can lead to greater love for Him.  Gosh, there are so many other details I could have thought about, so many other teachings by councils that could be traced back to these moments, so many different meanings that could be brought to light in meditating on the passion!  Now, if only I could remember all of that for tomorrow!  Off to study, hope this wasn't completely confusing!  Please send a prayer or two my way!