Suffering is a part of life, on some level or another. I’ve never met someone who hasn’t felt pain at some point. We all deal with it differently, expressing it with varying degrees of openness, but we are all far too familiar with pain: emotional, mental, physical.So it is comforting to me to know that my God suffered, too. To know that he endured measures of emotional, mental and physical anguish that I cannot even begin to imagine or comprehend, because that means that no matter how bad things might seem to me, He can relate, and can be there for me. And not only that, but He can bring meaning to our pain.

Someone expressed this really well to me today: God does not always take our pain away, but he is there to hold us. Isn’t that what a good parent does? God doesn’t save us from pain and suffering, but He is always there for us, and can take our suffering and turn it into growth. Archbishop Fulton Sheen said: “The Goodness of God means that God gives us what we need for our perfection, not what we want for our pleasure and sometimes for our destruction. As a sculptor, He sometimes applies the chisel to the marble of our imperfect selves and knocks off huge chunks of selfishness that His image may better stand revealed. Like a musician, whenever He finds the strings too loose on the violin of our personality, He tightens them even though it hurts, that we may better reveal our hidden harmonies.”

On Fridays during Lent, we have the unique opportunity to participate, in a very small way, in the ultimate suffering of our Savior: The Stations of the Cross. We will pray and meditate at each station, walking along with our Lord, as he makes his slow, treacherous ascent to Calvary. (These events were beautifully dramatized by Mel Gibson in his movie ‘The Passion of the Christ‘) I am always reminded, as we say the words “We adore you, O Christ and we bless you, Because by your holy cross you have redeemed the world” of how very much God loves me, and of the lengths to which He has gone to demonstrate that love for me, for all of us. And the Stations of the Cross are such an amazing, tangible way to teach my children how much God loves them. How could anyone refuse a love like that?

The Stations of the Cross

  1. Jesus is Condemned to Death
  2. Jesus is Made to Bear the Cross
  3. Jesus Falls the First Time
  4. Jesus Meets His Afflicted Mother
  5. Simon of Cyrene Helps Jesus to Carry His Cross
  6. Veronica Wipes the Face of Jesus
  7. Jesus Falls the Second Time
  8. Jesus Speaks to the Women of Jerusalem
  9. Jesus Falls the Third Time
  10. Jesus is Stripped of His Garments
  11. Jesus is Nailed to the Cross
  12. Jesus Dies on the Cross
  13. Jesus is Taken Down from the Cross
  14. The Body of Jesus is Placed in the Tomb

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