• Sarah Raad


Oh, the terrible bitter tears my Lord and God cried for me…

"I Thirst": The Vinegar Given to Jesus ("J'ai soif." Le vinaigre donné à Jésus) (James Tissot)

Today, I have been praying for many people. There is a young woman who I heard of recently who was suddenly given only days to live. There are others who are sick and still more who are suffering. There are those dealing with addition, separation and divorce.

And then there are the joyful souls. Those who are welcoming children into the world after many years of fearing that they never could. There are those whose health is restored after terrible illness.

And still there are others – those living in darkness, those who are afraid…

It seems to me that fear is a terrible terrible consequence of sin because it is fear that restricts us from ever truly realising our true potential as children of God.

I have often been afraid. After my baby died before he was even born so many years ago now, my overarching feeling was of fear. I was terribly afraid of everything. Perhaps the best way to describe my feelings would be to explain that to me it seemed as though God had whipped the rug out from beneath my feet and suddenly, all the terrible things that only happened to OTHER PEOPLE, could now happen to me at any time at all…

Who would help me if God allowed this?

I literally lost my footing and landed promptly and painfully onto my rear end. That fall was so intensely and painfully unexpected that it took me literal years to catch my breath afterwards. For years I would complain to my husband of feeling afraid.

“But what are you afraid of?” He would ask me. “I don’t know…” I would answer quietly in the dark depths of the night.

But my answer was not true. I did know what I was afraid of… I was afraid of God!

This fear of God that I had was not the wonderous beautiful Gift of the Holy Spirit, “Fear of the Lord”, which refers to the respect that we should have for the majesty and glory of Our Divine Lord. This unwholesome fear was quite the opposite… This was a complete and utter DISRESPECT for God. This was a belief that God could NOT help me and would NOT love me. This was a total collapse of any understanding of the Supreme Ruler of the Universe who created me and my child, who he had so GRACIOUSLY allowed to preceeded me to Heaven and pray for me from there. At that time, mine was the action of Judas Iscariot…

How sad for me. What a terrible waste of God’s good Grace.

And yet, God who works everything for the good, brought me beauty in this too... For things look differently when we are sitting flat on our rump on the floor. My perspective changed. Perhaps it took me a while – years in fact – to catch my breath, but now, though the grief and loss are as poignant today as they were all those years ago – through Grace and no merit of my own – what WONDERS I can see…

I have long ago stopped believing in coincidences. And so, it comes as no surprise to me that Saint Padre Pio has somehow become my favourite saint in recent times, despite having barely any previous knowledge of him. I feel, perhaps, that he has adopted me as his spiritual child – and how grateful I am for I am surely in need of his prayers!

The other day I read a beautiful saying of Saint Padre Pio, and it related so strongly to my own experiences that I have remembered it ever since… “If you should FALL, be HUMBLE, make a resolution to be SUBMISSIVE to God’s will, and then GET UP, and carry on.”

And so, now I CARRY ON… For I have much to atone for – much sin. I have a lifetime of blasé disregard for the true power and majesty of God for which I wish to repent. And I have reflected often on how to make amends to my Beloved…

How can I make amends to God? Obviously, I have confessed my sins. But though He forgives me because I ask it of Him and that is enough for God – it is NOT enough for me… I do not want that to be all I offer to my Beloved, who came for me when I was afraid and in the darkness like a child… I want to offer Him more.

And so now, I reflect on Judas Iscariot, who betrayed his Friend. And I suddenly realise that the tears that Christ cried during His Passion were for Judas too. Christ’s tears of grief were not for Himself because He accepted the Will of God without complaint. His tears were not for His Blessed Mother who consented to such suffering when she consented to the Angel during the Annunciation. They were not even for the women of Jerusalem who wept for Him when they should have wept for themselves… For those souls were the souls of the SAVED…

Christ’s tears were for those who betrayed Him... His tears where for the souls of the DAMNED… They were for Judas who betrayed Him once and they were for me who betrays Him a million billion times through sin.

How poor is my Lord and God to cry His bitter tears for LOVE of me.

On that Cross, the Christ wept bitter tears for Judas who He so loved and for whom it was better if he had never been born. “…but woe to that man by whom He is betrayed. It would be better for him if he had not been born.” (Matthew 26:24).

I realised what those words meant today…

Christ did not wish that Judas was not born so that Judas would not live – “For human life is the precious gift of a God whose love is infinite and when God gives life it is forever” (Pope John Paul II). Rather, Christ wished that Judas was not born so that Judas would not die – eternally in Hell.

If we are going to be damned to die eternally in the fiery pits of Hell, then it is better for us to never have been born at all… For we were made for life – NOT DEATH!

What gall this was for my Beloved. It was same bitter gall that was offered to my Beloved on the Cross, when He thirsted – for souls – and was offered BITTER GALL instead of lifegiving water.

“After this, knowing that everything had now been accomplished, and to fulfill the Scripture, Jesus said, ‘I am thirsty.’ A jar of sour wine was sitting there. So they soaked a sponge in the wine, put it on a stalk of hyssop, and lifted it to His mouth.…” (John 19:28-29)

Oh, for shame. The bitter bitter gall my God tasted for love of me…

The bitter bitter tears my God has wept for love of me…

Oh, my poor Beloved!

My Lord and my God… How could I torment you thus?

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

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