love to suffer
"Near the cross of Jesus there stood His mother." —John 19:25
Every human being naturally tries to avoid suffering. However, love can be stronger than our natural attraction to pleasure and aversion to pain. "For stern as death is love, relentless as the nether world is devotion; its flames are a blazing fire" (Sg 8:6). Like Ruth, love can motivate us to walk into a future which seems hopelessly lonely and impoverished (Ru 1:16-17). Like Mary Magdalene, love can drive us to choose tears of mourning in the cemetery in preference to worldly pleasures (Jn 20:11). Like Mary, Jesus' mother, love calls us to stand near the cross, even if we can't be on the cross with Him (Jn 19:25).
Love motivates us to share with our Lover, even in suffering. We are desirous of the compassion of love, even though we are afraid of the passion of suffering. We feel repelled by suffering but compelled to suffer with Jesus. In one sense, Jesus is still being crucified and held up to contempt (Heb 6:6).
Is your love drawing you to the cross? Your mother Mary will help you. "At the cross her station keeping, stood the mournful mother weeping, close to Jesus to the last."
Prayer: Jesus, through the intercession of Mary, may I fill up what is lacking in Your sufferings (Col 1:24). May my love for You be stronger than my fear of suffering.
Promise: "In the days when He was in the flesh, He offered prayers and supplications with loud cries and tears to God, Who was able to save Him from death, and He was heard because of His reverence." —Heb 5:7
Praise: Mary knew of and suffered with Jesus' cross longer and deeper than anyone else. Her love of Christ impelled her to endure His brutal sufferings.
Reference: (For a related teaching, order our tape on Developing a Deep Personal Relationship with Jesus on audio AV 52-1 or video V-52.)
Rescript: †Reverend Joseph R. Binzer, Vicar General of the Archdiocese of Cincinnati, February 11, 2009
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