With Lent comes crosses. But how do we handle these crosses? Last week, I injured my foot. Initially, I thought I damaged the nerve so I started to fear I would have another long-term injury. I have already been through years of chronic tooth pain from a root canal that damaged the nerve. It has never been resolved. Here are parts of my conversation with Betty in her words:
“Pain is an essential part of our journey. The Lord seems to prefer to use pain as a teacher. Take a look at Jesus’ life. He came to suffer, to free us. It seems like we, ourselves, need to suffer in some way so we can be free. We need to learn how to use it well. In that surrender, in which we yield our will to His, there’s the most powerful intercessory prayers we can make. We give ourselves completely over for the Lord’s will to be glorified in us.
It’s time to try to cooperate with what God is calling us to. Nobody likes suffering. We don’t wait to say yes to God until we like suffering because we never will. Though we can get to that point where we want to embrace suffering out of love for Him. Jesus wants to raise us beyond that dread and cowardly fleeing of suffering. He wants us to get past that. There comes a point at which we’re supposed to stop fighting suffering and choose to love His will above all. What we need to do is turn to the Lord and say, “Lord, don’t let us miss the good that you want to bring out of this.” Doesn’t God want us to allow Him to give us the grace of Holy Indifference? That’s the topic we are speaking on today. I wonder if you aren’t being called to that. It’s like, “I have pain today. Ok, so that’s how I am to be united with Christ today. Or I have joy today and feel wonderful. That’s how I am united with Christ today.”
Pope John Paul II said, “St. Paul speaks of true joy in his letter to the Colossians: “I rejoice in my sufferings for our sake.” (Col. 1:24). A sense of joy is found in the overcoming of the sense of uselessness of suffering. A feeling that is sometimes very strongly rooted in human suffering. This feeling not only consumes the person interiorly but seems to make him a burden to others. The person feels condemned to receive help and assistance from others and, at the same time, seems useless to himself.
The discovery of the salvific meaning of suffering in union with Christ transforms this depressing feeling. Faith in sharing in the suffering of Christ brings with it the certainty that the suffering person “completes what is lacking in Christ’s afflictions;” the certainty that in the spiritual dimension of the work of redemption he is serving, like Christ, in the spiritual salvation of his brothers and sisters. Therefore, he is carrying out an irreplaceable service.” (Pope John Paul II)