Saturday, May 12, 2012

Suffering - The kiss of Jesus

This morning I attended "Our Lady's Brunch".  The most beautiful event I have ever participated in (outside of the sacraments).  Jennifer Fulwiler shared her journey from atheism to Catholicism.  You can learn more about her on her blog,  She also shared that she was the first person on the scene of a horrific, fatal motorcycle accident a week ago and how that experience shattered the box she had placed her motherhood in.  The victim was her neighbor's 21-year-old son.  His mother was so grateful that there was another mother on the scene to pray him into his next journey and look on him with the eyes of a mother.  She has realized during this past week that our motherhood cannot be confined to any box.  All women are called to be spiritual mothers, to every one we meet.  We must offer each person our unconditional love.  This is sometimes painful and requires that we suffer with and for one another. 

Please consider Mother  Teresa's words on suffering:

"Suffering has to come because if you look at the cross, he has got his head bending down - he wants to kiss you - and he has both hands open wide - he wants to embrace you.  He has his heart opened wide to receive you.  Then when you feel miserable inside, look at the cross and you will know what is happening.  Suffering, pain, sorrow, humiliation, feelings of loneliness, are nothing but the kiss of Jesus, a sign that you have come so close that he can kiss you.  Do you understand, brothers, sisters, or whoever you may be?  Suffering, pain, humiliation - this is the kiss of Jesus.  At times you come so close to Jesus on the cross that he can kiss you.  I once told this to a lady who was suffering very much.  She answered, "Tell Jesus not to kiss me - to stop kissing me."  That suffering has to come that came in the life of Our Lady, that came in the life of Jesus - it has to come in our life also.  Only never put on a long face.  Suffering is a gift from God.  It is between you and Jesus alone inside."

There are seasons of suffering in our life.  As we know, it is caused by many different things and lasts for different periods of time.  Most of us live in fear of it.  Avoiding it all costs.  Etty Hillesum is quoted in Interior Freedom, "Man suffers most through his fear of suffering."  Jacques Phillipe sums this up well:

"Reality is something one shoulders together with all the suffering that goes with it...But the idea of suffering (which is not the reality, for real suffering is always fruitful and can turn life into a precious thing) must be destroyed.  And if you can destroy the ideas behind which life lies imprisoned as behind bars, then you liberate your true life, its real mainsprings, and you will also have the strength to bear real suffering, your own and the world's."

"Things seldom happen as we expect.  Most of our fears and apprehensions turn out to be completely imaginary.  Difficulties we anticipated become simple in reality; and the real difficulties are things that didn't occur to us.  It's better to accept things as they come, one after another, trusting that we will have the grace to deal with them at the right time, than to invent a host of scenarios about what may happen - scenarios that normally turn out to be wrong."

Dear God, Thank you for people who understand suffering.  Thank you for the example of people in our lives who have suffered tremendously and have responded by drawing nearer to You.  Your own Son suffered everything that is possible for a human to suffer - being misunderstood, abandoned, betrayed, tortured, and death on a cross.  Please give us the grace to understand that suffering is one of the greatest tools we have to know You, and love You, and rely on You more. 

Jesus and Mary, please gather all of the people who were affected by this motorcycle accident and all suffering people into Your arms and console them.  Give them the grace to know that You are near.  Please help us be merciful to those who are hurting and when our time comes, to suffer well.   We love you, Jesus and thank you for suffering for our sins. Amen.

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