“I adore thee Oh Christ and I praise Thee, because by Your Holy Cross, You have Redeemed the World..."
The other day, a pregnant mother-to-be told me that she felt her friend’s husband was too controlling because he would not allow his wife to wake up and feed their newborn baby at night. He woke up to feed the baby at night, while his wife slept.
I have never laughed so hard in all my life! You see, my poor naive friend is expecting her first child. She will soon learn…
When my children were newborns, they were terrible sleepers! They were such terrible sleepers, in fact, that they were years old before I managed to get them sleeping properly through most of the night. It was dreadful. It was a horrifically challenging time – being sleep deprived for literal years of my life…
I was often awake with the baby all night long while my husband seemed to sleep through all the commotion – miraculously some would say… For nights and nights and nights – literal years of my life – I sat up rocking, feeding, changing and settling newborn babies and then toddlers, all night long, right next to my beautiful snoring husband, who by some miracle of Divine intervention managed to sleep peacefully through the racket!
Those were long, dark nights indeed.
Never have I felt a stronger urge to stab someone in the arm with a fork as I did on those long nights. I hope I shall never experience such an urge again. All I can say is that there is something irrational that happens inside a mind that is that exhausted and that sleep deprived and dreadfully afraid that this time will not end. For it is an incredibly stupid myth to say that new mothers sleep when their babies do during the daytime. For me, it was rarely ever the actual case, and even if I could sleep during the day – with one or two other toddlers in the house – the quality of my rest was so poor and the naps so short and uncomfortable that it was not worth counting whatever that was as a sleep, it was more along the lines of a coma – dead to the world without an instant of rest…
As I remembered those long dark nights – in the time before Netflix, Stan, Disney, Twitter, Instagram, Facebook (it existed but I was not on it) – when the only thing you might be able to catch on television to keep you occupied in the long lonely night was some unknown heavy metal band pounding away on the ABC – I thought of my Beloved.
He too, sat awake, through the long lonely night. But He did not try to fork anyone in the arm. Instead, He watched me harm Him over and over and over again. He felt me hurt Him with my sins. And He loved me anyway…
Oh, the shame I feel for what I do to Him…
It was a cold, dark morning before the sun had risen in the sky and it had followed a cold dark and lonely night. He had been totally alone that night. His friends had slept, and He had prayed alone.
The most terrible thing to befall all of humanity was about to happen. The most dreadfully terrible thing was about to occur within mere hours, and now – after being surrounded by thousands of people who followed him around in the days and weeks before, He could not even rely on three of His closest friends – men who had been as brothers to Him to stay awake with Him.
The next day, God – the Divine Judge – was going to be judged by a mere man, who washed his hands of Him. God – who gave us everything – who would die for love of us – was going to be judged unfairly. And God was going to die.
And He knew it. And we slept.
Nobody cared. Nobody stayed awake with Him.
And so, on the night before God died, God stayed awake alone.
Oh, for shame! I did not stay with my Beloved.
I – who stayed awake for years with my little babies – did not even sit awhile beside the SON OF MAN on the night before He died.
I – who dare to call my God my Beloved – showed no love for Him on that night.
On that night He felt me spit on Him. On that night He felt me bully Him. On that night my own hands beat the Son of Man. On that night, in my pride, my most unworthy feet trampled over Him.
Oh, for shame!
Oh, for shame that I did not stay awake with my Beloved! Oh, what anguish I caused Him to suffer in that Garden all alone! Oh, what pain to have left my Beloved alone and in pain.
He sweat blood for my neglect. He wept anguished tears for my insults and my sins.
Because I would not sit awhile with Him, the angels came out of Heaven. The angels came because I would not.
Oh, for shame!
On the night before we Judged the Perfect Judge, on the night before we killed Our God – He was alone and He wept.
Oh, for shame to have allowed the Son of Man to weep a single tear for love of me. And my sins alone caused my Beloved to weep a torrent of tears. All the angels of Heaven flew to Him to comfort Him in the face of all my hate.
How could I do it to Him? How could I?
How could I ever do that to Him… “That Infinitely Gentle, Infinitely Suffering Thing” (T.S. Eliot).
Oh, for shame!
And so, consumed by shame and a great burning love inside my soul, I cry out into the blackness of the night… “I adore thee Oh Christ and I praise Thee, because by Your Holy Cross, You have Redeemed the World…”
For with prayer, I stand on Holy Ground where everything is clear. Here. At the Foot of the Cross.