Today is Friday, a day for praying the Sorrowful Mysteries of the Rosary. In these prayers, we ask for the grace to love past the unlovable behavior of others. We ask for the gift of being able to emulate Christ and love those who betray our love.
Betrayal By Those You Love Most Cuts Deepest
On a hot August day, I discovered that two people I loved more than I loved my own life conspired against and betrayed me. They knew what they were doing. They knew it would hurt me. They chose to do it anyway. My heart felt like someone ripped it out of my chest. I didn't know if loving and trusting this person again was possible for me. How could I forget? How could I let go of that pain?
When it comes to betrayal, the betrayals by those you love most cut deeper than any other kind. You allowed them to get close to you. You opened yourself up to them. You removed the guards around your heart and let them see it as you allowed no other to do so. And, instead of treating the gift like a gift, they betrayed it. If done by accident, it hurts as few other things do. If done by intention, though, the pain comes like a sucker punch to the gut, driving the very breath and life out of you.
The Rosary Helps Us Navigate Those Betrayals
i picked up my Rosary, trusting that the answers I needed lay somewhere in those meditations on Christ's passion and death.
The Agony in the Garden
Tears came as I reflected on Christ's agony in the Garden of Gethsemane. I entered that Garden with Christ, facing my own agony. Knowing that those I loved and would lay down my life to serve betrayed the love I'd given them. Begging for the grace to love them beyond that betrayal. I spoke Christ's words as I reflected, "Not my will, but yours be done."
I didn't understand His will for me or for the three of us in that moment. I didn't understand how He could allow this to happen to us. I believed, though, in His promise that He would work all things - including this - for my good and His glory.
The Scourging at the Pillar
I struggled to find it in my heart to let go of the pain and open the door to forgiveness. My heart felt every lash of the whip as I called to mind the many times I betrayed Christ's love for the benefits offered by the world. If He could love me despite my transgressions, how could I fail to love these two?
The Crowning with Thorns
I reflected on the many insults and injuries heaped upon the head of our Lord. I asked for the grace to endure the gossip, the slander, the ridicule, the false accusations, the scorn, the mental, emotional, spiritual, and even physical abuse that might come my way over this incident without losing sight of the other person's humanity or my capacity to love them past their unlovable behavior. I asked the Lord to help me not to use the pain as an excuse to harden my heart, but to keep myself open to love and to allow this pain to till the soil of my heart so that it might become a fruitful garden of His love.
How often did I engage in gossip, slander, or ridicule of others? How often did I falsely accuse before I found the facts? How often did I treat others with scorn, or engage in mental, emotional, spiritual, or even physical abuse? Yet I wished to be loved in spite of those things and to be seen as someone worth loving. Could I not extend that same to others?
The Carrying of the Cross
I asked God to help me bear the pain of this cross not as a burden to be borne, but as a banner of love for the Lord. As great as the pain felt for me, it represented only a small sliver of Christ's pain. Let me bear the sliver of my share of the cross so that Christ might not need to bear the whole weight of His cross without any help at all. May I do so cheerfully and with a grateful heart. It seemed impossible, but I knew with God all things are possible.
The Crucifixion and Death of Our Lord
My sins crucified Christ. My sins led to His death. My betrayal of His love made His sacrifice necessary. I broke down as I reflected on that truth.
This betrayal crucified me. I feel as if I am dying. Their actions nailed me to a cross. I can choose to climb down and walk away. My ego encourages me to do this, but Christ encourages me to stay with Him on that cross.
A Revelation: No Cross and Crucifixion Means No Glory and Resurrection
Christ reminds me that it is not until after the Cross and Crucifixion that the Glory and Resurrection came. The two are inseparable.
If there is no death, there is no glorious triumph over death. Without that glorious triumph over death, there can be no resurrection. These connections cannot be broken.
Love Requires the Ego's Death
I recognize that I am dying. It's not that I feel as if I am dying. I am dying. Or, more to the point, my ego is dying. This betrayal nailed my pride, my vanity, and my desire to be loved by others to that cross. They do not go quietly.
They taunt me, like the bad thief, to save myself. They tell me I don't deserve this. I shouldn't have to endure this. I'm worth more than this.
It's true. I don't deserve it. It's true. I shouldn't be on this cross. It's true. It's unjust for me to suffer for their crimes.
But once I allow their voices to die and be silenced, Humility, Charity, and Compassion replace them.
Humility reminds me that Christ didn't deserve it. He shouldn't be on the cross. It's unjust for Him to suffer for my crimes.
His love and charity keeps him there, and it is my love and charity that keeps me here.
Finding Compassion for Those Who Betrayed Me
I know what it is to do something that hurts another so badly I didn't have the right to ask for forgiveness. Yet the one I betrayed forgave me anyway.
In that moment, the one I betrayed saw me at my worst and chose to love me in spite of it all. The healing that came because of that gift of forgiveness transformed me. It opened me up to love in new ways.
I extend that same forgiveness to these two. One chooses to receive the gift and is healed. Together, we both find healing in this moment. Our love conquers death and we rise. Our relationship grows stronger than before the betrayal.
Learn More about the Rosary
You can purchase a copy of my book, The Secret of the Lantern, for some instruction in praying the Rosary and how to make the most of it. You can also learn more about the Rosary and guidance in its prayers by visiting Hallow.com.
Do you pray the Rosary? What's your experience? Any tips or advice? Any questions or concerns about it? Let's chat. Post your comments below and let's talk about it.