I feel conflicted during Lent and Christmas. Christmas is truly a joyous time indeed, but I have sometimes wondered if I really should be so happy. After all, the reason Jesus was born into this world was to suffer and die for me, because of my sins. It is truly joyous for us that God is willing to have His beloved Son go through such suffering for us, His creations. Conversely I and all of human-kind brought on Christ’s suffering because of our actions through selfishness. I wish Christ did not have to suffer, and especially that I was not part of the cause for that pain. Thankfully God is Love, and He does not limit the love He gives His creation. Even to the point that He allows His most Beloved Son to suffer and die for us. this consternation remains with me throughout Lent and is especially strong on Good Friday. Holy Saturday always brings me peace for it reminds me that God’s suffering is over. Not only is it over but through His suffering He conquered death and He gives us salvation. What a beautiful and humbling gift that is for us, His children. We have hope and that hope comes from our salvation.
I was at my Uncle’s funeral yesterday (April 7). His oldest son, my cousin, is a priest and he was con- celebrating with the Arch Bishop of Cincinnati. My uncle was a good man and welcomed Christ into his life. He was a farmer so he relied heavily on the Creator’s nature for his living. It seemed to me that he understood that his living is as much in God’s hands as it is up to his toil to be successful. Perhaps because a farmer’s success is so intertwined with the whims of the nature that God created that many rural communities have a rich faith. Let us not forget that every profession and skill is reliant on God’s grace. My cousin’s homily could have easily been one of tears but instead his message was one of hope and even joy. We are right to grieve for the loss of one we love. But because of our faith what we grieve is that person’s absence from the earth and our faith brings us the knowledge and hope that our loved ones precede us to a greater life, to a fulfillment of the salvation that God gave us through His Son. If we do our part we will be reunited with our loved ones again.
Yesterday (the Second Sunday of Easter) was Divine Mercy Sunday. I can not think of a more beautiful way that God could help me resolve the conflict I feel at Christmas and Easter. It is still sad that my sins caused the Son of Man pain, but Christ willingly took on that suffering because of Love for me. Divine Mercy Sunday reminds me that going forward we should not allow that suffering to go to waste. The Divine Mercy Chaplet may be the most beautiful prayer in my mind. The essence of the Divine Mercy chaplet tells us that the benefit of God’s love was not a once and done event 2000 years ago. God conquered death and sin for all time through the first Easter. We are to not allow that suffering to be in vain, we are to let God’s mercy continue to bless us for our immortal lifetimes. The chaplet asks for mercy on us in this world, the mercy that was shown us through Christ’s passion. Additionally, the words of the prayer echoe the sacrifice of the Mass and underscores our part in Mass. We are the Body of the Church. We are not to be just onlookers at Mass, we are to embrace the salvation given to us and offer back to God Christ’s passion, the passion that made our salvation possible.
Pat Rosmarin, Lecturer