By: Rick Hernandez
Holy Saturday, the long silence. As we wait patiently for the rising of Our Lord on Easter, let us take this time to ponder on the meaning of the Passion and Death of Christ. We look up to the Heavens through the eyes of faith, and in our hearts, we can inscribe the words:
“No one has a greater love than this, to lay down one’s life for one’s friends” (John 15:13).
Jesus laid down His most precious life because of LOVE. For us and for our salvation, He conquered death, and all of this happened because He accepted His Cross. What does that mean for us? What are we to learn from His lesson?
“Father, if you are willing, take this cup away from me; still, not my will but yours be done.” (Luke 22:42)
Here, our Lord is asking to be released from the Passion's suffering but accepts it out of His love for God the Father. He surrenders His will to accept the Father’s will.
We, as humans, often shy away from suffering; we avoid pain. Yet to suffer is unavoidable. It is the reality of this fallen life. We will encounter suffering, be it ourselves or via our loved ones.
So many of our hearts are deeply hurt these days. We can barely keep up with the battering from the world, so we close our hearts. Society tries to teach us to be selfish. Media bombards us with the message that it is all about us, that we are meant to have an easy life, that we should not have to suffer.
Because of this, love has lost its real meaning.
Jesus on the Cross is the ultimate form of intercessory prayer, the ultimate form of love. His physical life was a living prayer. His suffering and death, in love, are the offering to the Father to atone for our sins. Jesus was not afraid of pain and suffering; He knew that to love freely meant to be able to lay His life if necessary. Such is still our call today.
With His example, Jesus tells us that we do not have to like suffering or want it. Still, we have to be willing to accept it, especially when it is because of our love for others. God's love for us is free, as in freely given. It is unbound.
Free love is not painless love. Free love is not selfish love; it is neither conditional nor temporal. If we are going to be able to love freely, we have to be willing to suffer. Our hurt hearts can know real love, but we have to be willing to be vulnerable.
If you are not willing to suffer disappointment or pain, you cannot love freely.
To love is not without consequences on this Earth. Love can be, for us, a little Passion. We know from Christ’s example that when suffering comes, it is an opportunity to make an offering to our Lord. The surrendering of our will to His will, as an act of love, then becomes an intercessory prayer.
It is in this renouncing of self for the good of others that our experience becomes a little like Christ’s on the Cross. “No greater LOVE...”.
"Bear one another’s burdens, and so you will fulfill the law of Christ" (Galatians 6:2)
Today, let us think not only about physical death. Today let us embrace self-denial, humility, and empathy. Let us be willing to suffer discomfort for the ones in need. We are meant to carry each other’s burdens. Would it not be love if we go out of our comfort zone to help turn around a life? What are we willing to give up for our love of others?
To love fully, we must be willing to suffer. Like Our Lord, are we willing?
Love one another as I have loved you.
May you have a Happy and Blessed Easter!
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We are Ivonne J. Hernandez, Rick Hernandez and Laura Worhacz, Lay Associates of the Congregation of the Blessed Sacrament, and brothers and sisters in Christ.
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