• Sarah Raad


We have only one soul. If it is saved, it is saved for all eternity, if it is lost, it is lost forever.” (Saint John Bosco).

The Carpenter’s Shop (Edward Stott)

The other day I had a backache and though it was nothing serious and nothing I have not felt before, it was a bother, and I did not like having it and it made me frustrated and cranky and a pain in the neck for my poor family to be around for a day or two…

Luckily for me, I do not have any structural problem with my back and so backaches are not a very serious or long-term concern for me, but nevertheless, I felt annoyed by the ache in my back – and I am sure that my family felt annoyed by me!

As I was complaining to myself about this discomfort and feeling pretty miserable about the whole situation, it suddenly occurred to me that I am not the only person in the world with a sore back. Even if I exclude my husband – and others like him – who have injured their backs some time ago and will have chronic pain in their back for the rest of their Earthly lives, there is another whose back ached…

I call to mind my Beloved – for His back ached.

Perhaps it ached in His daily life. He was a tradesman after all, before He was a Rabbi. And most tradesmen feel aches in their muscles – and their backs – after a long day of work. Christ would have felt those too. He would have pulled His arms and strained His legs and hurt His back as He went about His daily work.

Later, when He was a travelling Rabbi, His back would have ached from the walking and the ministering and the tending to the sick. Later, when He was a travelling rabbi, His back would have ached from sleeping on the ground or working all day from morning to night.

And that does not count the Cross… The terrible terrible Cross that was thrust upon His poor battered back. First He was scourged and beaten and tortured and flogged and abused, and then, the massive Cross was thrust upon Him and He dragged it – on His back – to His place of execution.

How His Poor Underserving Perfect Holy Back must have ached! How His back must have ached!

I think of this today – since my back feels much better now – for my Beloved felt pain in His back until His dying breath. And He felt that pain for love of me…

Who am I to complain?

It would go against my conscience to complain now – and yet I so often do!

I pray instead that I can follow the advice of Saint John Bosco who said, “Whenever the devil asks you to do something against your conscience tell him, ‘I cannot because I have only one soul!’ This is true Christian logic, far superior to the logic of worldly wisdom. How fortunate you will be if throughout your lifetime you keep this thought in mind. We have only one soul. If it is saved, it is saved for all eternity, if it is lost, it is lost forever.”

For my spirit is as weak as my Master’s was willing…

And so I have nothing to do except pray for Grace – for it will only be with Grace that my conscience will be refined!

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

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