In the reading I heard at Mass, one line reached out to me— “the cup of salvation, I will take up.”
Responsorial Psalm Ps 116:12-13, 17-18
R. (17) To you, Lord, I will offer a sacrifice of praise. How shall I make a return to the LORD for all the good he has done for me? The cup of salvation I will take up, and I will call upon the name of the LORD.
R. To you, Lord, I will offer a sacrifice of praise. To you will I offer sacrifice of thanksgiving, and I will call upon the name of the LORD. My vows to the LORD I will pay in the presence of all his people. R. To you, Lord, I will offer a sacrifice of praise.
Many of you already know that this past summer has found me dealing with physical symptoms that have increasingly weakened and limited my ability TO DO. The same holds true for my husband—and for many others as we age. This ‘cup’ is very hard to drink from just as the cup that Jesus referred to in the Garden of Gethsemane hours before His scourging and death.
So, today, the question came to my mind—“What is the cup of salvation?”
I have been told that all answers about what Scripture means can be found from Scripture itself—when we cross reference words or similar topics.
Jesus spoke of “taking this cup from Me” during His agony in the garden. He also asked James and John ----“Can you drink from the cup that I am going to drink?” Then of course, we have Jesus lifting the Cup of Wine and speaking these words. “Then He took a cup, gave thanks,* and gave it to them, saying, “Drink from it, all of you, 28l for this is my blood of the covenant, which will be shed on behalf of many for the forgiveness of sins.”
I was thinking of all of this at Mass for I was praying for my daughter of 33 years, who is facing breast and maybe ovarian cancer---I feel deeply in my heart that this ‘Cup of Salvation’ is a cup of suffering, as we shed our spiritual blood of human feelings and come to that saving grace of FAITH AND TRUST in the Father who knows what He is doing. We had already been drinking from other cups of suffering ---but this cup of Sarah's future is truly harder to accept and lift up to Him.
How to lift up our cup is revealed to us in the lines immediately following the first. I will call on the Name of the Lord (IN JESUS NAME WE PRAY), and I will offer the sacrifice of praise and thanksgiving.
(Even Jesus, as He prayed for Lazarus to be raised from the dead, started the prayer with “I thank you Father for hearing my prayer.”)
So as I lift up this cup in prayer---I recall WHY we must have suffering in our life. For us to grow, and mature in wisdom and grace, faith and trust---we must suffer and experience trials to come to KNOW that our GOD is all Powerful, all loving, all merciful, all forgiving, only when we experience this awesome love in our lives.
God allows the suffering in our life, so that we can be truly SAVED from the effects of sin in our lives. We need to be set free of the effects of both our sinful behavior and the results of the sins of others who have wounded us deeply. I know how deeply my daughter has been wounded and how this woundedness has affected her whole life. Even now her inner pain is causing her stress, anger, and more emotions that set her body up for cancer to come and EAT away at her. (Just as these negative emotions can set all of us up for the wearing away of our body, leading us into destructive behavior/lifestyles.)
So we must lift up to God as a sacrifice of praise and thanksgiving all of the suffering in our lives. We must see the reasons WHY it was allowed. We must FORGIVE all those involved including ourselves and God for allowing the pain to enter into our being. We must surrender to God our life and say I offer all of the sufferings of my life as a prayer for those who are suffering now.
And it is not just the big sufferings we must deal with, but the daily moment by moment walk of doing boring chores, being patient with other’s negativity, and our own emotional ups and downs that come. We must know that all things come for a reason—just as pests and sickness come, trials and cleansing fires, and clouds that bring storms and life giving rain come. ALL is a necessity for our daily survival and our eternal salvation. See all also, as an opportunity of lifting up a prayer.
So let us all lift up a toast to each other, offering a sacrifice of love and thanksgiving, let us lift up our cup of suffering that leads us all to salvation by God’s perfect design.
“How shall I make a return to the Lord for all the good He has done for Me? The cup of salvation I will take up and I will call upon the name of the Lord. To You will I offer up a sacrifice of thanksgiving, I will offer a sacrifice of praise.”
May the Peace of the Lord Jesus Christ be with us all.