• Sarah Raad


Open my eyes Oh Lord, my God, for then I would see You in every piece of pain…

Agony in the Garden (Garofalo)

How quickly the year is progressing. Already we are into the month of April, Easter is behind us, and though it may appear that the season of Advent is a long way away, it is not nearly so distant as one might think…

Over the last days and weeks, I have prayed very intently for the intentions of people who pray with me. I have included anybody who is praying today in my prayers. But most importantly, I pray for those who suffer.

Suffering can be so immense and overwhelming that there are times when it can feel almost unimaginable.

There are those who suffer through illness, their own and the illnesses of those they love and fear for.

There are those who suffer through loneliness where their isolation from the broader community a terrible burden.

There are those who suffer from addiction, torturing those who love them because of the choices that they make.

There are those who suffer from change when their vocation is taken away from them when relationships end or through separation and/or divorce.

There are those who suffer from loss – grieving loved ones and opportunities that have slipped away.

And while I pray for those who suffer, it occurs to me that many of my prayers are to ask God to alleviate suffering – for myself and for others.

Today, these prayers seem very strange to me…. For suffering has its purpose and it has its place.

After all, the metal cannot be forged without the fire…

So why oh why do I long to avoid pain and avoid the suffering?

After all, there is nothing that I could endure that Christ did not endure first. There is nothing that I could suffer that God did not suffer with INFINITELY more intensity than I could ever suffer…

Just as we suffer with illness, often unexpectedly and at the prime of our lives, Christ was struck down with an unnecessary and fatal illness caused by His injuries during His Passion and on the Cross, which contributed to His premature death.

Nobody was more isolated that Christ, who was not only alone in the desert for forty days an dnights during Lent, but also in the Garden of Gethsemane, and alone before the judges who unfairly tried Him, and again… alone on the Cross.

Christ dealt with addiction, He was a victim of it! The addition that Christ was exposed to was not the addiction to drugs or sex or alcohol that we so often recognise in our world, but the addiction to money and to power, which we praise and admire in this twisted shambles of an Earth... After all, wasn’t Christ’s Blessed Sacred Life betrayed for a mere few pieces of silver?

Christ dealt with change too and suffered for it. The Pharisees could not cope with the sort of change He suggested and they retaliated by persecuting Him even unto His death. Oh yes, Christ dealt with change in a very real and final way.

And then there is loss. And Christ suffers such INFINITE loss. Not only did He lose loved ones, including His Foster Father, Saint Joseph, through physical death during His Earthly life, but He suffered the loss of His very dear friends too. Christ mourned the loss of his disciples who fled from Him, escaping possible persecution, running away and deserting Him out of fear... And of course, more importantly, Christ mourns for the eternal loss of souls – He cries for every soul who He so lovingly created to live with Him in Paradise forever, and who instead damned itself eternally to Hell. He lost Judas Iscariot, who He called to follow Him and He loved so very much – How terribly terribly sad for God…

When I look at things this way, it occurs to me that I have not yet had the eyes to see…

Who am I to ask for less suffering? I who merit more…

My Beloved suffered all things for me first.

Father, into your hand I commend my spirit – do with it what You will…

My Lord and my God – I place all my trust in You!

Please open my eyes – that they may see Your glory in every piece of pain…

For with suffering, I stand on Holy Ground where everything is clear. Here. At the Foot of the Cross.

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