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How to Prepare for Suffering (aka Monday )

Devotional Thought of the Day:

38  Those who do not take up their cross and follow in my steps are not fit to be my disciples. 39  Those who try to gain their own life will lose it; but those who lose their life for my sake will gain it.   Matthew 10:37-39 (TEV)

5  For since we have become one with him in dying as he did, in the same way we shall be one with him by being raised to life as he was. 6  And we know that our old being has been put to death with Christ on his cross, in order that the power of the sinful self might be destroyed, so that we should no longer be the slaves of sin.   Romans 6:5-6 (TEV)

14  But far be it from me to have glory in anything, but only in the cross of our Lord Jesus Christ, through which this world has come to an end on the cross for me, and I for it. Galatians 6:14 (BBE)

On the Cross this readiness is put to the proof, and precisely the darkness in which Mary stands engulfed reflects the fullness of the identity of her will with that of Jesus. Faith is a community formed by the Cross, and it is only on the Cross that it achieves its full perfection: the place where redemption seemed utterly beyond our reach is actually the place where it is consummated. We must, I think, relearn our devotion to the Cross. It seemed too passive to us, too pessimistic, too sentimental—but if we have not been devoted to the Cross of Jesus in our lifetime, how will we endure our own cross when the time comes for it to be laid upon us? (1)

It is the week after Holy Week, and many students are returning to school after a week of freedom.  They dread it, for the switch from freedom to discipline, from play to work is never easy.  I think they get this, in part, from the adults they observe who return to work every Monday weary, tired, robbed of hopelessness.   It’s as if we, adults and students, expect a lifetime of suffering during the week. 

In truth, most of us don’t have ti that bad.  It may not be Disneyland, but then again we aren’t listening to “it’s a small world” 400 times!

To put it simply, we don’t know how to deal with discomfort; we don’t know how to embrace suffering.  We don’t want to lose the things that are precious to us, from family to creature comforts, to the comfort of our sin.  And so we avoid those things, find escapes from dealing with the reality of life.

Which is why we so hate Mondays, why they cause such dread.

We don’t want these crosses, because we haven’t taken the time to contemplate the glory of the cross.  Even the idea of it being glorious is a thought we are troubled by.  We might write it off as a necessary evil, or the price Christ had to pay to redeem us. Glory in it?  That sounds absurd!

Yet the man who would become Pope Benedict has it right, he understood Paul the Apostle so well!  We need to contemplate the cross, to meditate on it, and understand what it means that no only was Jesus crucified there, we were crucified with Him. Our real life begins there, with Him, in a place where redemption and healing seem absurd, but both begin.

The Test of Discipleship, so fearfully laid out in Matthew’s gospel no longer seems as daunting. For when we realize the glory of His cross, when we realize it’s impact on us, then we can trust God to get us through the little cross we struggle with, especially on Mondays.

Our cross?  In light of His cross, in light of the glory revealed there, may we run to it, bearing it, trusting God to use these crosses to bring blessings, to create something good, evil when “they” meant evil, or when the cost of suffering seems too high.

Even on Monday.

Cry out on Monday that cry that speaks of both despair and faith, “LORD HAVE MERCY!!”

And rejoice as that mercy is made sure.

AMEN.


Ratzinger, J. (1992). Co-Workers of the Truth: Meditations for Every Day of the Year. (I. Grassl, Ed., M. F. McCarthy & L. Krauth, Trans.) (p. 110). San Francisco: Ignatius Press.

What can be done to help??? The greatest thing… prayer!

Jesus in Pray

Jesus in Pray (Photo credit: Wikipedia)

Devotional Thought of the Day:

I urge you, first of all, to pray for all people. Ask God to help them; intercede on their behalf, and give thanks for them. Pray this way for kings and all who are in authority so that we can live peaceful and quiet lives marked by godliness and dignity. This is good and pleases God our Savior, who wants everyone to be saved and to understand the truth.   1 Tim. 2:1-4

439      Prayer is the most powerful weapon a Christian has. Prayer makes us effective. Prayer makes us happy. Prayer gives us all the strength we need to fulfil God’s commands. Yes!, your whole life can and should be prayer.  (1)

In the last day, I have been asked a hundred times if there was anything that could be done to help, that I would let them know.  Messages from friends, phone calls, hugs given quietly, the words over and over….

if there is anything I can do….

There is of course very little, but helping others when they are traumatized is a need we all have.  It is a way of coping…. of dealing with the trauma and suffering we so hate to see friends endure.  Some of us are good at it… we see our lives turn into doing this very thing. 

And yet – nothing,… a small task here, a small thing there….. in some cases those in trauma find themselves making up tasks… or at least in the last days I have found myself in that situation. I truly appreaciate the care – and the sincerity and yet, from the world’s view, there is so little to be done. 

Yes, my father is dead, and yes it hurts… and yes, I know everyone cares.. deeply cares for my family…. and I know there is a desire to help… 

And there is something that can be done… 

Something that makes more a difference, something that is wondrous, even glorious…

Pray… simply that… pray. 

For in doing so, you call on the Lord who does interact in or lives, a Lord who desires that no one of us be lost – and if His love is that powerful, that strong in its desire to care for us, then prayer is not a “well at least I can…”  but it is the primary thing, as St. Paul tells us.  It is our power for salvation and therefore our power to live in His presence. 

So for my mom, for my brother, and sister, and yeah for me….. pray, but not just for us…

for my friends Bob and Nancy, who also lost a dear friend on the same day as my dad…
for my friends, KB, and Hugh and Steve, who have had surgery in the last two days…
for others whom you know, who also suffer… and most importantly… those whom you know who don’t know Jesus, who don’t know His love and mercy… 

St Josemaria has it right – prayer is our sacred opportunity, for it reminds us of His presence, His love, it is our weapon, to defend that which is alive in us… in Christ… to deliver those who God has sent us too… 

You want to help those who are mourning?  Pray… that God would make HIs presence and mercy known… and that the faith fhat sustains us… would sustain those who ill come to know of His love…

and…

Thank you..

 

(1)Escriva, Josemaria (2011-01-31). The Forge (Kindle Locations 1690-1693). Scepter Publishers. Kindle Edition.

 

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