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  • Sarah Raad

Again

I am weak, and He is strong, and without Him, I am nothing…

The Crowning with Thorns (Caravaggio)

The other morning, I woke up on the wrong side of the bed – so to speak. Nothing was terribly wrong. But I was not my normal (relatively) cheery self… My children were working at a snail’s pace to get ready for school and suddenly it all seemed like too much to have to rush three rather unenthusiastic children out of the door for school and I simply wanted to give up.


That morning, on the way to Holy Mass, I did not pray the Holy Rosary with my children in the car as is our usual custom – instead I lectured them about being responsible and getting organised for school. Later that morning, as we were driving to school, we did indeed pray the Rosary to Our Blessed Mother – but I was still a bit grouchy, and my heart really was not in it…


I have recently read the Diary of Saint Maria Faustina Kowalska and in it, Christ speaks of the pain caused to Him by LUKEWARM souls… “Their love is lukewarm, and My Heart cannot bear it; these souls force Me to reject them.” (Diary 580). And later in the Diary, Christ reveals… “Today bring to Me souls who have become lukewarm, and immerse them in the abyss of My mercy. These souls wound My Heart most painfully. My soul suffered the most dreadful loathing in the Garden of Olives because of lukewarm souls. They were the reason I cried out: ‘Father, take this cup away from Me, if it be Your will.’ For them, the last hope of salvation is to flee to My mercy.” (Diary 1228).

And so, bearing in mind the suffering caused by lukewarm souls, when I arrived back home from dropping my children off at school, I collected my rosary beads from where I had left them on the kitchen bench, and sat myself down outside in the nice bright sunshine and tried to pray again…

That day, it was a Tuesday, and so I began to recite the Sorrowful Mysteries of the Most Holy Rosary, attempting – despite my weaknesses – to make reparation for my ingratitude and lukewarmness during my previous attempt to pray.


I prayed the first mystery, reflecting on the suffering of Christ in that Garden of Gethsemane. I thought of the lukewarm nature of my own soul and my heart ached. You see, my Beloved wept salty tears and sweated holy blood for the sins of my lukewarm soul. He wept and sweated for my weak attempt to pray that very morning, and still I could make no better effort than that…


And then I prayed the second mystery, remembering the scourging at the pillar. It was here that Christ suffered for the sins of the flesh. “And Jesus gave me to know for what sins He subjected Himself to the scourging: these are sins of impurity. Oh, how dreadful was Jesus’ moral suffering during the scourging!” (Diary of Saint Faustina, 445). It was here that the Holy Skin of Christ was torn from His Body, and I wept to know that my Beloved’s holy skin was torn so that my unholy skin could revel in sinful pleasure and indulgence…


The third mystery related to the Crowning of Thorns. And here I prayed that God would forgive my ingratitude and that He would forgive me all the times that I complained despite all that I have. Our Blessed Mother – who was present for the Scourging and the Crowning – revealed to Saint Bridget, “The soldiers of the Roman Governor, after having scourged my Son at the pillar, adapted a Crown of Thorns to His adorable Head, and, pressed it with such violence that Blood was made to gush so copiously from it as to cover His eyes, fill His ears and imbrue all His beard.”


By the time I reached the fourth Sorrowful Mystery, I was praying for those who are heavy burdened, because here I was reflecting on Christ’s carrying His Cross. He lifted it. He carried it on His torn flesh and against His painful shoulder. And – with INFINITE dignity – He walked to His death. And He did that of His own Free Will… And as I was praying for these troubled souls, I saw a beautiful leaf blow across the ground towards me and it occurred to me that even in the extremity of suffering, and even in the terrible burden of pain, our Lord and our God sends us blessings and beauty and Grace to endure.


And so, as I reached the final Sorrowful Mystery of the Most Holy Rosary, I cried out to my Blessed Mother. For she watched her Son’s sacrifice and she watched it in silence. And suddenly, it seemed to me that there is nothing that I would not give to ease her pain. For what a terrible burden it is for the Mother of God – who was greeted by an angel who said, “Hail, full of grace, the Lord is with thee: blessed art thou among women.” (Luke 1:28) – to watch one such as me torture and KILL God, just as carelessly as I had made my first attempt to pray the most Holy Rosary that day…

And I wept for the years of torment that I inflicted on my Beloved before I understood what harm my sinfulness caused. And then I wept even more because I remembered the prayer He prayed with His dying breath… “Father, forgive them, for they do not know what they are doing.” (Luke 23:34).

For He forgives me – me, who is lukewarm, me, who tore the Flesh from His Bones, me, who crowned Him with thorns, me, who made Him carry His Cross, and me, who crucified Him…


And as I cried for love of my Beloved and His Mother, I asked Him for the GRACE to try again… For I am weak, and He is strong, and without Him, I am nothing…


And all I can do now, is offer my weakness to Him – because without Him I can never try again… Never…


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

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