• Amy

Suffering, Offering, and the Joy of the Cross

There are times in life that you can actually feel the suffering of Christ's passion.

The loss of a tiny child, the last blow of a seemingly endless illness, the slow degeneration of a person you can't imagine the world without. The injuries inflicted upon the innocent, upon our most defenseless fellow men. The failure of ones you most need to trust.

One of the main reasons I am Catholic is because of the Cross. Our God has been through this pain -- He is with us in every unbearable, soul-shattering pain. Our faith isn't just one of Resurrection -- although of course it is that -- but it is one in which the suffering of God himself is near to our hearts.

Knowing -- that most intimate form of knowing, experience -- the shape and depth of some portion of that suffering is the most difficult kind of gift. It is the kind of gift we wish our friends, in these moments in our lives, could give to us -- simply being with us in that pain, if only a few steps across the threshold.

Just to be there in the fire, to not flinch away, or pat it on the back, or offer false promises. To accept the lick of the flame on their cheeks for just a moment, or two, or whatever they can do.

There are times in our lives, when Jesus calls us ever so gently, so deeply, so inexorably, to do that with Him.

To accept this cross in our life, to stand with Him for a moment beneath the weight of the hate of the world, to feel the lash of its terrible fall from His grace. Not to run, rebelling with all our God-imaged souls, from the indignity and the despair of Death. We feel in our core that we were made for More, for fullness of joy, but He calls us to this willing Less. A little, terrific death, a little like the one He bore for us.

It is so. very. hard. It is not pretty, and it will not fit on a Valentine, or a 1:1 grid scrolling by. But it is oh so real. And there may be times in your life, when the pain is so great, the wound is so deep, when you simply have no choice but to say Yes.

And He is there.

When you cannot pray, that is a prayer. Just ask His crucified Heart to be near yours.

He will weep with you.

© 2018 by Amy Horan