I know you are suffering, and it is very hard to see you suffering as you are. I cry out to our Sorrowful Mother to give me the grace that I need in seeing such a dear loved one suffer.
How hard it is. How I would like to take this suffering from you. How I have begged God to take this suffering from you; but only in accord with His Divine and Holy Will. Because, as much as I love you, I know He loves you immeasurably more. And, in the end, He knows what is best all around. He knows the crosses you are meant to carry and the graces He’s given you to carry them.
So who am I to think I should know better. But, still, I beg Him for reprieve for you in your suffering, or that you will have the grace for the sufferings He asks of you.
“Why do I have this suffering?” you may be asking God. And I assure you, He is hearing you; and, He will answer you as He sees fit. Be attentive. Your answer may come in a way you are not expecting. Be sensitive. “Be still,” so that you can hear Him speaking to you in the quiet whisper of your heart.
There is a belief among many today that if we think something hard enough it will be. And, that we must always think positive thoughts.
Yes, positive thoughts can be very good, but they should never replace reality.
There is a movement today of seeing God as merely an energy, a life-force. And, thus we hear such things, “why should one meditate on the passion and death of Christ?”… “We must think positive thoughts. Why meditate on something so “negative”, such as suffering and death?”… “We must think of things that are life-giving.”
Always we must remember that the devil comes as an “angel of light.” He mixes truths with lies to deceive us. It is true that we are called to “have life, and have it to the full”, but we must remember that we are living in a fallen world. We are not going to transform the world just by thinking it is good, or thinking it into being good and positive. Who do we give the power to in this, but ourselves.
We are but creatures of God. God is God! God is all powerful and almighty! Jesus came precisely to redeem the world, and to draw us into relationship with Him as a PERSONAL God, not an abstract energy or life-force. If we don’t open ourselves to His presence and grace, we can think positive thoughts all we want, yet we will not be redeemed by His Divine Grace.
Jesus shed His Precious Blood that we might be healed and redeemed. Jesus took on our flesh that we could be drawn into His Divinity. It is a lie to say that we are divine apart from Christ. It is only to the degree that we are surrendered to Christ and one with Christ that we take on His Divinity.
Why is it truly so positive and powerful to meditate on the passion and death of Christ? Precisely because it is only in and through the cross that we are redeemed and made whole. It is the saving power of His Crucifixion and Death that draws us into true life. It is a paradox that by meditating on the suffering and death of Christ we find hope, peace, joy and true happiness and fulfillment.
Scripture tells us, “Unless a seed falls to the ground and dies, it remains just a seed. But if it dies it bears much fruit” (Jn 12:24). This is symbolic of us. Unless we die to our human will, our self-centered ways, etc, and seek to live for God and His Divine Will, we remain just ourselves, frail, suffering, sinful creatures. But if we die to ourselves as Christ did, we find true life in our Heavenly Father and Creator.
Satan doesn’t want us to discover this “pearl of great price” (Mt 13:46) of becoming one with Christ. This is what the whole battle between the Woman and the dragon in Revelation 12 is about. Mary who is a total creature, became fully one with Christ. She said, “Be it done unto me according to YOUR word” (Lk 1:38). She sought always God’s Divine Will in her life.
As with Christ, she didn’t seek to be freed of her suffering, but rather to be surrendered to God and disposed to His grace amidst it.
Pope St. John Paul II tells us in his apostolic letter on Redemptive Suffering:
“In order to discover the profound meaning of suffering . . . we must above all accept the light of revelation. . . . Love is also the fullest source of the answer to the question of the meaning of suffering. This answer has been given by God to man in the cross of Jesus Christ” (SD 13)
“In Christ… God has confirmed his desire to act especially through suffering, which is man’s weakness and emptying of self, and he wishes to make his power known precisely in this weakness and emptying of self.” (SD 23)
“Down through the centuries and generations it has been seen that in suffering there is concealed a particular power that draws a person interiorly close to Christ, a special grace. To this grace many saints, such as St. Francis of Assisi, St. Ignatius of Loyola, and others, owe their profound conversion. A result of such a conversion is not only that the individual discovers the salvific meaning of suffering but above all that he becomes a completely new person. He discovers a new dimension, as it were, of his entire life and vocation.” (SD 26)
Just remember, a trusting and surrendered disposition doesn’t mean we repress our feelings, but rather that we are fully open in sharing with God our struggles… and, if inspired, we even cry out with Jesus, “Father, take this cup from me! … yet Your will be done” (Lk 22:42).
(by Lilla Marie Lottinger)