March 24, 2019 – Ruminations by Fr. Pat

When Jesus was arrested and stood before Pilate and the people of Jerusalem, what do you imagine what was going through His head? For a while He kept telling people that He was going to suffer and die, and now the time had come. Was He scared? Was He triumphant? Was He confident?
How about us, when we carry our crosses. The cross in your pocket – is it heavy? Is it a burden? Is it necessary? In the Scriptural version of the Stations of the Cross that we pray, the verse for the Stabat Mater shares with us: Now the Cross as Jesus bore it, Has become for us who share it, The jeweled Cross of Victory.
Is your cross a burden? Do you carry it with dignity, or do you whine or complain as you carry it? Do you make sure others know that you are suffering? Sometimes we make others suffer when we are suffering — “If I’m unhappy, I will make sure that others around me are unhappy too!”
So we go back to Jesus saying nothing. He was quiet so as to carry the full burden of our sins. And, so, we too might know people who act the same. We might say after a person has died: “I never knew how much pain she was in….” There is a difference between lamenting before the Lord and whining before the Lord. The former is healthy, the later is not. Lamenting is not complaining; it is a recognition that the Lord is there in our needs, and that He takes care of us, even when we do not understand. Whining is wallowing in self-pity. Once again, by whining we are not carrying the cross, we are trying to get rid of it.
Lamenting before the Lord means that we acknowledge our pain, we ask why, and we ask for help. “Out of the depths I cry to you, O Lord; Lord, hear my voice!” (Psalm 130:1) We are not asking God to take anything away. We are just venting frustrations and pains, knowing that He will hear and answer. In confusion, loss, and turmoil, we are asking for stability and balance and His presence in our lives.
“My life is deprived of peace, I have forgotten what happiness is…The thought of my wretched homelessness is worm-wood and poison; Remembering it over and over, my soul is downcast. But this I will call to mind; therefore, I will hope: The LORD’s acts of mercy are not exhausted, his compassion is not spent; They are renewed each morning—great is your faithfulness! (Book of Lamentations, chapter 3)

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