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Wednesday, March 31, 2010

Holy Week Meditation -- Wednesday, March 31, 2010

There is a suffering that hurts us deep-down inside our very soul; to the very quick of our being. For whatever reason, it is a lonely and confusing time where even one's own thoughts are jumbled and often scarce. Friends and family are still present with us and try to sympathize, as best they can, with our suffering. But, there are times and occasions when you feel totally alone even in the midst of crowds. It is in these deep, dark times of suffering, that our souls only refuge is God.

I think of Jesus, alone in the Garden of Gethsemane though surrounded by His loving but sleepy disciples; praying so fervently, so anguished of soul that His sweat became like drops of blood. Yet He said, "Not my will, but thine be done!" Surprisingly, for the believer, these times of deep suffering are the times when our faith seems to grow the most.

Such suffering may come from a variety of reasons or sources, but the resulting question is always the same. Where is God? Is it possible Jesus felt this way on the cross when He cried out, "My God, my God, why have you forsaken me?" At least, I like to think Jesus knows what I feel like when facing one of those dark nights.

Some have called such times of suffering The Dark Night of the Soul in keeping with the poem and commentary by Saint John of the Cross, the 16th century Spanish priest and mystic. In the conclusion of his commentary on the Dark Night of the Soul, Saint John says, "...although she [Kerry's words: our soul] walks, unstayed by any special interior mental light, or exterior guide, to sustain and encourage her on this lofty road [Kerry's words: to heaven], since the darkness of this night deprives her of all such aid; still her Love and Faith which ever, like a beacon lights her way, and constantly importune her heart with thought of her Beloved, urge and guide her forward, and make her to fleet swiftly towards her God on this lonely, solitary road, although she knows not how nor in what way."

The Apostle Paul states it like this in Romans 8:12-28 "Therefore, brethren, we are debtors, not to the flesh, to live after the flesh. For if ye live after the flesh, ye shall die: but if ye through the Spirit do mortify the deeds of the body, ye shall live. For as many as are led by the Spirit of God, they are the sons of God. For ye have not received the spirit of bondage again to fear; but ye have received the Spirit of adoption, whereby we cry, Abba, Father. The Spirit itself beareth witness with our spirit, that we are the children of God: And if children, then heirs; heirs of God, and joint-heirs with Christ; if so be that we suffer with him, that we may be also glorified together. For I reckon that the sufferings of this present time are not worthy to be compared with the glory which shall be revealed in us. For the earnest expectation of the creature waiteth for the manifestation of the sons of God. For the creature was made subject to vanity, not willingly, but by reason of him who hath subjected the same in hope, because the creature itself also shall be delivered from the bondage of corruption into the glorious liberty of the children of God. For we know that the whole creation groaneth and travaileth in pain together until now. And not only they, but ourselves also, which have the firstfruits of the Spirit, even we ourselves groan within ourselves, waiting for the adoption, to wit, the redemption of our body. For we are saved by hope: but hope that is seen is not hope: for what a man seeth, why doth he yet hope for? But if we hope for that we see not, then do we with patience wait for it. Likewise the Spirit also helpeth our infirmities: for we know not what we should pray for as we ought: but the Spirit itself maketh intercession for us with groanings which cannot be uttered. And he that searcheth the hearts knoweth what is the mind of the Spirit, because he maketh intercession for the saints according to the will of God. And we know that all things work together for good to them that love God, to them who are the called according to his purpose." (KJV)

Holy Week reminds us that we are not alone, even during those Dark Nights of the Soul.

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