A few weeks ago I had “one of those days.” I just felt tired. Earlier that week I had attended a conference on human trafficking and although I knew the gravity of this evil, I had no idea how pervasive and prevalent its existence had become. I left that conference feeling a heaviness in my heart. Going into work that week and seeing my client’s depression and pain after that conference just had me drained. I felt like it was all just too much for me – too much sadness, too much darkness, too much exposure to the reality of what sin does, and how it wounds the human heart and soul. That evening after work I sat in my chapel at home, and as I stared at the image of Divine Mercy that hangs on my wall, I started sobbing. I wept like I haven’t wept in a long time.
I thought of those girls who are used and abused on a daily basis. I thought of all my clients who grew up in homes where they never felt loved. I thought of all the brokenness that’s around us in our world. And I thought of our Lord, who saw it all over 2,000 years ago and bore the sin and darkness of each one of us. As I prayed and meditated on His passion, I asked him in my heart, “How did you do this? How did you feel all this and so much more? You saw and felt everything – all the sin, all the pain, all the brokenness of our humanity and you still chose the cross.” I wept as I imagined our Lord hanging there willingly with full knowledge of every sin committed and every tear shed throughout all of time. He bore the weight of it all on His shoulders. Can you imagine the heaviness? The sorrow? Can you imagine the deep love He must have had for each of us to hang there?
On Good Friday, the day where nothing seemed “good”, the day where suffering and darkness appeared to prevail, our Lord chose love. While He was being beaten and scourged, He chose love. As he hung upon the cross getting mocked and judged, He chose love. This is what makes Good Friday “Good” because love redeemed us that day. The love He had for each of us is the only thing that can make that kind of suffering bearable. He knew what the cross would offer us and teach us. He knew the cross was the way He would be able to offer us light in the midst of all the darkness and evil that surrounds us. He knew the cross would be our only source of hope. He knew that we would each have a cross to carry in this life and on Good Friday, He taught us the power that love and suffering can bring.
As I continued praying in my chapel, I could see the light from one of my candles bouncing around. This little flame was getting tossed around, back and forth so ferociously in the glass jar, that it looked as if it was going to get blown out at any moment. My eyes were squinting from crying so much that I was able to see little rays of light coming off the candle and they were scattering outwards just like the rays that pour forth from the Divine Mercy image. In that moment I just smiled and I knew that Jesus was speaking to me through that little light. He is the light in the darkness. He is the only way that we can keep our lights from being extinguished. It’s by His love and grace. He will pour out of us His love and goodness if we allow Him too, just like those rays pour forth from the candle. I thought about all my Christian brothers and sisters who are out in the world trying to keep their lights lit, even in moments of great suffering and persecution, and this brought me great hope. Sometimes our rays of light might seem barely visible but they are still penetrating hearts. When we choose to live like Christ, this brings consolation to His Sacred Heart. Jesus told St. Faustina that “devout and faithful souls” brought him “consolation on the Way of the cross.” He said, “They were that drop of consolation in the midst of an ocean of bitterness.” (Diary of St. Faustina, p.1214)
When we feel like we aren’t able to offer much to Jesus or make much of a difference in this world, it’s important for us to remember what Jesus modeled for us on Good Friday. The answer lies in what Jesus taught us on the cross. Love and suffering. This is what is going to transform our world. Love for Jesus and for souls, and our suffering united to His. He told St. Faustina this:
When I was dying on the cross, I was not thinking about Myself, but about poor sinners, and I prayed for them to My Father. I want your last moments to be completely similar to Mine on the cross. There is but one price at which souls are bought, and that is suffering united to My suffering on the cross. Pure love understands these words; carnal love will never understand them. (Diary of St. Faustina, p.324)
No matter how dark the world gets or how dim our lights seem sometimes, we have to keep them burning because together we can bring great glory to God. When we combine our love, we can illuminate this dark world of ours. Jesus already promised us that the gates of hell would not prevail (Matthew 16:18) and we remember this promise as we honor our Lord’s Passion, Death, and Resurrection this Friday. He has already conquered sin, death and darkness. “It is finished” (Jn 19:30). We just have to keep our lights shining, continue to love the best we can and remember to unite our suffering to the power of the cross. In doing so, our rays of light will bring hope to this world of ours and will bring great consolation to the Sacred Heart of Jesus.
“Jesus, light of the world, shine in our darkness.”
“We adore you O Christ and we praise you, because by your holy cross you have redeemed the world.”
“The cross, then, does not ‘stand’ against the world but for the world: to give meaning to all the suffering that has been, that is, and that will be in human history.” Fr. Raniero Cantalamessa, papal preacher, homily on Good Friday 2017
“The cross is the living proclamation that the final victory does not belong to the one who triumphs over others but to the one who triumphs over self; not to the one who causes suffering but to the one who is suffering.” Fr. Raniero Cantalamessa, papal preacher, homily on Good Friday 2017
© 2018 Drewe DeJesus
Photo by Eberhard Grossgasteiger at Freely Photos