Saturday, July 30, 2011

The Glorious Hope in Christ Crucified and Risen

I am always amazed at the novelty of Christian hope. On one hand, the weight and sheer intensity of human sufferings that we must face seem to crush us to the ground: broken family relationships, scandals and hypocrisy, physical ailments, emotional pains, isolation, fear, anxiety, and the heaviest of all, the weight of our very own weakness. YET, in the midst of all of this, the Lamb of God calls out to us, as if the first cries of suffering must be penetrated, probed, searched, and then if we listen deeper, if we can touch the bone marrow, the inmost heart of human suffering, we find...GOD! We find that Christ suffers in us. Love suffers. Love suffers for want of love, and seems to still cry out from the Cross, as if those "loud cries" (Hebrews 5:7) of Jesus can be heard in the depths of human misery.

Yet it doesn't go away. I am still afflicted, pained, crushed. What now? Prayer. Only in prayer can we stop and wait, and in the silence of stopping to listen to the voice of Christ, the voice of suffering Love, we are permitted to focus in on the inmost heart of human suffering and perceive the heart of Christian Hope, that Jesus suffers with me, knows me intimately, hears my cries, hears my hearts deepest longings and pains. When we pray we discover the meaning of St Paul's words, the God's "power is perfected in weakness" (2 Corinthians 12:9). We hear the sound of hope itself. We hear God, who says,
"HOPE! Hope that I am good. Hope that
my plans are for your highest good, to bring you peace and fulfillment, not despair, loneliness, or the trauma that you may now be feeling."
Christ is HOPE. He is the cause of amazing and enduring joy even amidst terrible difficulties. And since she was able to perceive the plan of God, the goodness of God, his most hidden purpose even amidst the trauma and abandonment of the Cross, Mary is always called and continues to be SPES NOSTRA, OUR HOPE. She makes the difficult transition from encountering the pains and aches of human life to the purpose and plan of God a gracious and even pleasant experience. It is the sheer tenderness of her love, her maternal embrace, her hand on our shoulder that allows us to suffer the worst of pains in the gentlest of ways.

Mary Our Lady, Mother of holy Hope, pray for us and obtain the firmness of heart to never waiver from the Cross and its divine purpose to bring us to unwavering joy and delight in God's eternal presence.

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