"My son be attentive to my words; incline your ear to my sayings. Let them not escape from your sight; keep them within your heart. For they are life to him who finds them, and healing to all his flesh. Keep your heart with all vigilance; for from it flow the springs of life." - Proverbs 4:20-23
Prayer: LORD, I thank You greatly for conversion and the gift of new life in You. You are showing me such a beautiful life that I have never known. I thank You for being who You are. Continue to purify my heart from every evil and sinful inclination. I desire to be with You, but so often my choices and decisions say otherwise. Help me to fully integrate my desires, action and words that they be wholly according to You will. Keep me patient, humble, and grant that my heart rests lovingly and trustingly in You. Hide me in Your wounds that You endured to free us from all sin. Amen.
Triumph of Suffering
Today our readings help us to prepare our hearts and minds for the coming feasts. As Christians Holy Week is the highest celebration that we have, but entering into Holy Week we enter into the sufferings of Jesus that won our salvation. We are reminded that we too are to pass through the cross, united to Jesus, as we ourselves are saved by Him.
When we speak of Holy, we mean set-apart, different, special. This week is our opportunity in a real way to walk with Jesus, in, with, and through Him, as He enters the Passover Feast that would change the course of the world and establish the New Covenant.
In our gospel we hear that the hour has come. And we ask ourselves is my heart and mind ready, am I open to and looking to Jesus? Am I ready to see the truth and the reality of the path that God has laid out for me? Am I willing to see and experience within myself the triumph of suffering?
Suffering, is called suffering for a reason, no one seeks out suffering for the sake of suffering. Only for a greater purpose. Jesus, utters His feelings about it in the gospel, "I am troubled now. Yet what should I say? 'Father, save me from this hour'? But it was for this purpose that I came to this hour. Father, glorify Your name." We hear the words that Jesus speaks, and we can interpret them and make sense of them in our own interior. The sense being, this is going to hurt, but it is for the good of all and the glory of God so I will do it. Jesus does not love suffering; Jesus loves us so He is willing to suffer if it means that some will accept the invitation to be with Him forever. Jesus embraces the cross so that He can hopefully embrace us in heaven.
The path of the Holy Week is similar for us, we do not seek suffering for its own sake, but because it is the way to follow Jesus and be united with Him. Redemptive suffering, embracing the cross, means we receive it for the sake of being united to Jesus, to journey with Him in Him passion, to rise with Him.
On a practical note, for us this means that whatever hardship, personal weakness, Jesus is revealing, is the place that God is inviting us to give to Him so that His grace can supply for our need. If we are mocked by others, if we are physically weak, if we are struggling with temptation, if there is a virtue struggle, in all of these and more God is asking us, will you open that to My grace. We do not want to hide in shame, but say yes lord, I need You and I want to live with You forever.
The Triumph of suffering is that we are able to be united with Jesus in it. To not only see Him carrying the cross with us, but even carrying the cross in us, united with us.
May God richly bless you!