Updated: Dec 29, 2020
When we find opportunities for prayer they can invite God into our lives to work His incredible GOODNESS through us.
Today, I pray for Brian who died one year ago today.
While I pray for Brian, I think of all the dearly departed souls, and those lost in Purgatory awaiting our prayers to release them. And I think of those sick and in need – little baby Luka, Vanessa, Nancy, Teresa, Vita, the mother who had a stroke; and all those who mourn, like the grieving mother and the families of Brian, Andrew, Saint Baby Charbel and little Raphael.
And while I pray for these few, a million others come to mind, those who are anxious, those who despair, and a million different special intentions of those who pray with us.
So many wonderful opportunities for prayer!
Someone dear to me once told me to surrender her to God, because I am pushing her too hard and I need to “let go”.
It occurred to me at that time, that this action of surrender is so greatly misunderstood. While we pray often for the Grace to Surrender, we humans rarely understand what true Surrender really is.
People like this dear one see surrender as a giving up – a letting go and being carried along the waves. And yet, there is no giving up in surrender.
Surrender is not the LETTING GO of our responsibilities – it is the acceptance, the TAKING UP… of God’s Way, the Way of the Cross. One cannot ever surrender by GIVING UP!
Christ himself, the perfect example of surrender, surrendered himself, through the mystery of the Trinity, to God’s Holy Will. And, as I do with most things these days, I turn to Christ for His example.
In reflecting on this suffering of our Beloved God, I recall a little injury of my own.
About 4 months ago I fell off a bicycle and bruised my knee. I have not taken a tumble like that in many many many years – if ever! It was a nasty fall and all my weight landed directly onto my patella – I am lucky I did not break it. Even today, despite doctors and x-rays and physiotherapy, the bone remains bruised and it hurts very much to even touch my right knee (one day it will feel better I am told, it will just take some time). When I fell, the shock and pain were so severe I thought I would throw up and faint. I literally had to take some time to lie down to calm myself so that I would be able to get up and walk. Then, when I did stand up, I could barely move, because I was badly battered and shaken.
Now, every time, I touch my sore knee, I think of Christ and his long road to Calvary. There are infinite blessings in this tiny pain.
Christ fell three times.
Three times, our God made Man fell in such a way, that we continue to discuss His falling even two thousand years later – these were not minor stumbles – these were terrible painful accidents. Carrying His Cross, Christ surely landed directly onto his knees that were already lacerated and damaged, dropping all His weight and that of His Holy Cross onto his knees. He surely tore the skin and flesh from them and they surely filled with dust and dirt and animal droppings, human spit and waste and pebbles and filth from the road. Those Sacred knees, like all the lacerations on His Holy Body, surely started to infect in the heat of the day as he continued to walk, possibly even causing our Beloved God to become feverish as He walked and hung on the Cross – adding to his pain.
Christ surely, bruised those sacred knees far more than I have bruised my own. Surely, Christ felt that He could not stand up and need to rest and recuperate as I did for my infinitely smaller injury.
And yet, despite the scourging and the beatings and the spits and the blows. Despite the Crown of Thorns, and the sweat and the blood and the hunger and the thirst.
Despite having the power to cast off his suffering and GIVE UP… Christ SURRENDERED through the mystery of the Holy Trinity, to the Will of God.
Christ TOOK UP his Cross through the paradox of surrender and continued on never letting go – rather – TAKING UP his Cross over and over again. He walked on carrying His Cross, using those broken sacred knees until He was physically too battered to do even that – and then too, He surrendered to God’s Holy Will. He – God made Man – God HIMSELF – HUMBLY accepted help.
Have you ever thought about Christ’s perfect humility in accepting help from a reluctant stranger, Joseph of Arimathea, to carry His Cross, when He had it in His power to save Himself from the agony of this death and this embarrassment of appearing weak when He is all powerful?
God, through the mystery of the Holy Trinity, as King of all the Universe, Creator of the World, Holy Spirit of Love and Wisdom and Fortitude, in the person of God the Son, Beloved and Only Begotten Son of the Father – humbled himself to accept the physical assistance of a stranger, through love for us.
What greater example of surrender could there possible be than that?
Christ’s is the complete and humble surrender to the Holy Will of God. Christ, God Himself, HUMBLED Himself to accept the help of a passing stranger – because that was the way that God provided for Christ to TAKE UP his Cross and Surrender to God’s Holy Will.
And if Christ – God of all the universe who is I AM – has the humility to accept a little help to CONTINUE on in surrender, by TAKING UP rather than GIVING IN, then I pray that we can too…
For with prayer, everything is clear. Here. At the Foot of the Cross.