O Lord Thou shalt open my lips and my mouth shall declare Thy praise.

Friday, April 22, 2011

Love is Expressed by Suffering, not Good Times

Good Friday - I Class Feria
Missa Doni Praesanctificati (Mass of the Presanctified Gifts)

1st Lesson: Osee 6:1-6 [The Lord is about to heal the wounds of His people.]
2nd Lesson: Exodus 12:1-11 [Precept of the Paschal Supper.]
Gospel: John 18:1-40; 19:1-42 [John's Passion]
Full Latin-English propers here.

Today is the highest day of the year for this blog's titular. Today is the day when the story of Ecce Homo happens. Today is the day Christ is mocked. Today is the day that Christ endures physical pain. Today is the day that Christ endures emotional pain. Today is the day that Christ endures our pain. Whatever our suffering might be, today Christ suffers the same pain, only more intensely. His Divinity increases His capacity for feeling pain. Our human weakness and finiteness limits how much pain we can feel before we've had too much and it gets beyond out abilities. In order to us to be able to feel more pain, Christ needs to increase our abilities. As Christ increases our pain, He increases our abilities. Why does He increase our pain? Why does He give us heartbreak, illness, death to our loved ones, unemployment, and every manner of suffering? Because He loves us.

Suffering joins us to Christ. The more we suffer, the more we are joined to Christ. Christ suffered. He suffered our of love. He loves us so much that He is willing to do anything and suffer any fate to be with you. Love gives you the strength to suffer. The more we love Christ, the more we are willing to suffer for Him. When you love someone, you are willing to do anything to be with the person; you, them, together, safe and sound. Without love, suffering is wrong, discouraging and prevents progress. Many people look at the Catholic religion, see suffering, and run. They reject it. They have not love. To pick up your cross and carry it requires love. You need to love the person for whom you are suffering. That love makes the suffering worth it. Love gives you the strength to suffer whatever pain comes you way for the sake of that person.

Christ loves you. His love for you is so strong, that He endured His entire passion, the whole time thinking about how you rejected Him in favor of sin. He spent His passion thinking about how you lived your life in sin instead of with Him. All He wants is for you to reciprocate His love. He wants you to return His love. Whether or not you are called to love this, that, or the other person, you are always called to love God. Everyone is called to love God more than anyone else. If we love God, we are willing to suffer for Him, that we might be with Him. If we love God, then we want to be with Him and that love gives us the strength to suffer anything we might have to so that we can be with Him. Suffering is an expression of love. As St. Teresa of Avila put it, "Love is the cross and the cross is love." Also, Fr. John Corapi said, "You run from cross, you run from love." Today we hear Pilate ask in the Gospel, Quid est veritas? "What is truth?" I ask, Quid est caritas? "What is love?" Anyone can put up with easy times for the sake of someone. Only those who love the person will suffer the hardest times for the sake of the person. That's True Love. In love, you don't care what the suffering is or how bad it is. You are perfectly willing to suffer any pain for the person, no matter how hard it is for you. The passion was hard for Christ. He asked for the bitter chalice of suffering to pass. He accepted it out of love. That's True Love. If we love Him, we are likewise willing to suffer for Him. If we love our neighbor we are likewise willing to suffer for the neighbor.