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Friday, April 2, 2021

Good Friday: Can You Embrace the Sufferings in Your Life?

Matthias Grünewald

St. Paul tells us in the Letter to the Hebrews:

We see Jesus crowned with glory and honor because he suffered death, that through God's gracious will he might taste death for the sake of all men. Indeed, it was fitting that when bringing many sons to glory God, for whom and through whom all things exist, should make their leader in the work of salvation perfect through suffering.

Christ alerted his disciples that they would be treated the same way their master was treated. They could expect ridicule, persecution, even martyrdom -- and all the apostles except John did! He made them "perfect through suffering."

The natural human inclination is to run away from suffering, to beg for release. But what would happen if we embraced every suffering? If we knelt at the foot of the cross and imitated Mary's fiat. "Yes Lord, Thy will, not mine, be done." Would there not be an outpouring of graces on our poor, evil, needy world? 

Most of us will never experience the kind of suffering Christ did. No, we will be called to experience crucifixion "by thumbtack." The sharp word, the painful loss of a close friendship, ridicule and abuse because we refuse to join the "woke" cultural of lies, alienation among family members and friends. How will we respond to these opportunities to embrace the cross and "make up what's lacking in the suffering of Christ."? 

Jesus wants us to be in communion with Him in His suffering for the sake of our union with Him in glory. But He will never force our free will to comply with His will. God sent Gabriel to ask Mary to be the Mother of Jesus. She freely embraced God's will. Another Mary humbled herself by kneeling and washing the feet of Jesus with tears of repentance as the pharisees at table turned away in disgust.

The cross of Christ looms before us more graphically than at any other day of the year. The liturgy, like a time machine, transports us back to Calvary. The suffering of Christ for our sins is palpable. We want to look away, but we are invited to enter in. 

Will we meditate on Christ as He hangs on the cross? Will we look out through His eyes on our own world, a world in crisis, committed to depravity? Do we see ourselves in that crowd of abortionists, murderers, gang members, blasphemers, adulterers, fornicators, porn purveyors? I find myself among them, guilty of so many sins in my life. And I look back on Jesus hanging on the cross and see the same forgiveness Peter must have seen in Christ's eyes after his betrayal. May I imitate Peter weeping bitterly and then returning a more humble soul than when I left.

Mea culpa, mea culpa, mea maxima culpa.

Oh happy fault of Adam that gave us such a Savior! May this Good Friday fill us all with a deep conviction of God's love. And may we love Him in return with our whole heart, soul, mind, and strength! Jesus and Mary, I love You. Save souls!

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