By Ivonne Hernandez
“Don’t be daunted by the cross. The surest test of love consists in suffering for the loved one, and if God suffered so much for love, the pain we suffer for Him becomes as lovable as love itself.” – St Padre Pio
“Rejoice with those who rejoice, weep with those who weep.” (Rom 12:15) This instruction from the Apostle St. Paul gives us a way to practice or manifest the command we receive from Jesus, to love our neighbor as ourselves. When one part of our body hurts, let’s say our foot, we feel it, and the rest of the body compensates in some way to continue to function. When those really close to us are hurt, let’s say our children, we feel it, sometimes more than if it was ourselves, and we do whatever we can to help alleviate the pain. We experience compassion. When tragedy hits close to home, and affects our family or friends, their pain is our pain, and we weep with them. As the distance of the relation with the person experiencing pain increases, the level of compassion (usually) decreases. But as Christians we are called to “weep with those who weep”, not only with those we know and love, but with everyone. We need to close the distance between us and remember we are One Body in Christ.
But this brings a dilemma. There is always someone weeping. Have you seen the news? The world is full of tragedies and pain and if we focus on that every day, on all the injustices and the pain, we would not be able to get out of bed. The answer to this dilemma is the same answer to every problem we may ever encounter, the Eucharist. We are not called to fix our eyes on the problem, but on the solution. By allowing ourselves to feel the pain of our neighbor, even when they are on the other side of the world, and remember that we are all part of the same Body, we can be moved to compassion, when not only we feel the pain, but we feel moved to do something to alleviate it. It is in this action then that we allow ourselves to be broken and shared for others. It is in the Eucharist that we find the Heart of Jesus, weeping, and we weep with Him. It is here, when our heart opens, that we ask Him to send us, to use us to share the Good News. It is from this Eucharist that we are sent forth to walk with our neighbor in their pain. We are not called to go in the pain to just stay there, but to hold the hand of the other and walk with them towards the light, to bring hope to a broken world. In our union with Christ, we can ask the Holy Spirit what He needs from us today. Sometimes the answer will be to bear our own sufferings patiently, for our own suffering is the school where we learn compassion. “Blessed be the God and Father of our Lord Jesus Christ, the Father of compassion and God of all encouragement, who encourages us in our every affliction, so that we may be able to encourage those who are in any affliction with the encouragement with which we ourselves are encouraged by God.” (2 Cor 1:3-4)
So let us today turn our eyes to our Mother, and ask her to turn her eyes towards us in this valley of tears, mingled with her own sorrowful tears, as she suffered with her Divine Son. We will find encouragement in her Immaculate Heart, and she will always point us to Jesus’ Sacred Heart. In those two hearts that beat as one we will find ourselves comforted. And in those two hearts we will find our neighbor. We will see that he is really not far, but that he is part of us, and we will weep with him.