Updated: Feb 20, 2021
Lucky for us Christ redeemed the world. He saved us! All that we must do is take up our cross and follow Him…
Today as I was praying for the intentions of a new dear friend who is burdened with many worries, I realised that she did not feel that she had received the Grace necessary to see the love of God.
Because of the current difficulties in her life, she felt that her frustrations her pain and her anger was evidence of God’s displeasure with her. She thought she was being punished because she had done something wrong.
The poor poor soul. What terrible anguish to think such a terrible thought – and yet how common it is to hear that those enduring trials feel that they are a punishment from God!
They are NOT! To think so is to submit to the lies of the Evil One, who delights in confounding us. God does not punish His beloved children by tormenting them with burdens they cannot bear! He loves those who suffer and draws them close to Him!
I saw no evidence of an angry God in this beautiful friend.
I did; however, see His INFINITE LOVE and MERCY in her because through her struggles I could see a soul bearing her Cross so bravely on towards Calvary.
And that vision gives me great joy – despite her tears.
Now, before you even think it – I am not a sadistic person.
I have seen some dreadful heart break since my new vocation to prayer began. I have been asked to pray for people who are heartbroken and weary, people whose health is failing, people whose loved ones are dead or are making choices that are wrong, and people whose intentions are private and sorrowful.
I find no pleasure in the hurt, sorrow or torment of another – though strangely – I find great comfort there.
Why? How could this bring me joy?
Because although I find the burdens of these strong souls heart-wrenchingly sad, I see the Comedy – NOT the Tragedy – of these burdens.
For many many years I have taught a lot of English! There are whole genres of English literature devoted to the exploration of Comedy and of Tragedy. My very favourite articulation of these genres is the Classical or Shakespearean form of Comedy or Tragedy, which does not look like crying aloud or laughing aloud as modern tragedies and comedies do; rather they follows certain rules established by Aristotle in the “Poetics” thousands of years ago.
A Shakespearean Comedy and Tragedy are surprisingly similar. In both genres there is a hero who, though good, is a fatally flawed character whose flaws contribute to their own demise.
In the case of a Tragedy – that demise is the end of the story – and we finish watching the play feeling sad.
In the case of a Comedy – there is some divine or supernatural intervention to save the day and this salvation is usually represented by a marriage of the hero and heroine – and we finish watching the play feeling happy.
We are the hero.
We are basically good with a fatal flaw caused by Original Sin that contributes to our own demise – we cause our own tragedy by rejecting God. And yet… Despite the sadness – we are living a Comedy – even here in this Valley of Tears.
Because – lucky for us – Christ is our divine and supernatural intervention. He turns the tragedy of sin into the comedic happy ending by redeeming us. And there is marriage for us in our Comedy too – the new covenant of Christ is our marriage covenant with God through the Blood of our Saviour, who is the Perfect Sacrifice!
So, though in this Valley of Tears, we, each of us, carry our Cross and feel its weight upon us, the Cross is not a sign of God’s displeasure with us – it is a sign of His LOVE!
Mortification sacrifice and suffering are a REQUIREMENT of holiness, and holiness brings us to God.
“Jesus said to his disciples, "Whoever wants to be my disciple must deny themselves and take up their Cross and follow Me.” (Matthew 16:24).
So, when my friend feels sad, it is not evidence of her distance from God, it is evidence that she is His DISCIPLE – His FRIEND!
While we suffer with our sadness, we are literally carrying our Cross and following Him. In doing so, our entire lives become our vocation to prayer – because in following Christ we can offer all our sorrows to Him, as though we took a splinter of His Holy Cross for love of Him in gratitude for His sacrifice that was made for love of us!
Christ said to Saint Faustina: “You will save more souls through prayer and suffering than will a missionary through his teachings and sermons alone.”
Saint Philip Neri summarises our vocation perfectly… “without mortification nothing can be done.”
So, with these holy examples before us, when we face our burdens each day, let us know that they are a sign of our Beloved Father’s embrace. For He sees all – even the sorrows in the silence of our hearts. And He loves us more than my feeble words could ever say – because of those sorrows!
Because through our sorrows we are made holy because we walk in His HOLY SHADOW!
For with sorrow and joy in suffering and prayer, I stand on Holy Ground where everything is clear. Here. At the Foot of the Cross.