“If you really want to love Jesus, first learn to suffer, because suffering teaches you to love.” St. Gemma Galgani
Recently, I had some great news one morning. By the afternoon, it was an avalanche of continuous positive news. I thought to myself how it could be possible. Of course, I wrote my friends in the Carmel cloister to tell them about it. I cannot visit them during Lent to respect their spiritual time. I could not believe how all these good things happened at once and I thought to myself what I always do – I do not deserve this. I was speaking with a friend once when things were dark and I was reminded to sit and listen to the words God puts into my head and not what society or others who do not love me want to say. Strong words.
“To believe with certainty, we must first begin with doubting.” St. Stanislaus
I thought about many things that had happened to me. It is easy to dwell on what we don’t have instead of what we have. It is easy to be discouraged but it is Holy Week. On Palm Sunday I was asked to help at two parishes to read the passion. Two masses in a row on a Sunday? I did it and it left me feeling happy. Reading the passion aloud is much different than listening. A tear came to my eye when the Good Thief asked to be remembered in Paradise. How often do we want to be remembered in Christ’s kingdom, yet we do not want to make the effort? I had a great answer from my Carmelites friends regarding the good news that I had had. Instead of being suspicious, I should be in awe of my Creator. He has given us so much: faith, sacraments, life, and Himself in the Eucharist. Yes, this week is a time to remember how great Christ’s love is for all of us.
“As it is impossible to verbally describe the sweetness of honey to one who has never tasted honey, so the goodness of God cannot be clearly communicated by way of teaching if we ourselves are not able to penetrate into the goodness of the Lord by our own experience.” St. Basil the Great
I read about two saints who had their memorials during Holy Week this week. St. Gemma Galgani who suffered ridicule from her family for her faith. Even when she was being canonized, there were objections. But Christ is above all that for sure. St. Stanislaus had his feast day on the same day, April 11, and he suffered persecution. King Boleslaw II chastised St. Stanislaus and had him dismembered. How many saints have suffered fates like Christ? We are reminded that our sufferings are nothing compared to the glory that awaits us. This week, the readings provoked many thoughts in me. During Holy Week, we are in a deeper time to remember the passion of our Lord. I was happy to read two passions last Sunday. But, reading the passion is nothing compared to what the Lord suffered for us. I must be reminded of how great this week is for me. I had some great events happen to me. I have also had some struggles. But, in the end, Christ is my rock and I stand firm with Him. I want this to continue every day all throughout the year.
“Unless there is a Good Friday in your life, there can be no Easter Sunday.” – Ven. Fulton Sheen