Friday, June 10, 2011

Good Friday Revisited

Today is Friday and on Fridays Catholics are encouraged by praying the Liturgy of the Hours and the sorrowful mysteries of the rosary, to meditate upon the sufferings of Christ in His Passion.  In the midst of my own prayerful reflections on our Lord today, my thoughts were turned to the reactions of the people closest to me upon learning of my diagnosis with Lyme disease.

One friend with whom I’d imagined I’d be able to break down and cry chastised me with disgust, feeling I had wrecked my vocation by going out and getting Lyme disease.  Another bewailed his own fate exclaiming: now you can’t take care of me!  And the third of my closest friends at that time was at first shocked, and clueless thereafter as to the daily battle that would ensue, being far removed from sight of me in a monastery.

Comparing these reactions to those that Christ encountered is fairly simple.  How many of His friends and disciples believed it was all over for Jesus when He entered into the agony of His Passion?  How many thought: this ruins everything?  And among His closest friends, His apostles, how many said to themselves: now you can’t take care of me?  How many were shocked by what they saw Him subject to?  How many whom He had known and loved in His life were not there to see His suffering, to witness what He went through, to understand, to care?      

And then, there were my parents.  My mother, watching me day after day, losing weight, limply crumpled over plates of food, who sat with me for as long as it took to get enough down my throat.  Who had to see my face sunken in, my eyes ringed with black, my gaze a glassy distant stare… and my father, who wept at the sight of the IV tubes hanging out of my arm, asking why not me instead? 

Mary saw all that Jesus went through and stood by Him, and went through it with Him, as did my mother with me.  Had Joseph been alive, would he not have wished it were him instead of Jesus?

As for penetrating the paschal mystery, we know that in His own way, the Father in heaven witnessed all that His Son endured, and He was with the Son, and the Son came for our sake to bear that suffering for us, like the earthly father Joseph would have wanted to do if he could have done, like my own father wanted to do for me.

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