I love Holy Week. Our Faith life is so rich and full and the sense of anticipation is great. You may have noticed by now that I have a Love/Hate relationship with my treadmill that is echoed this week as well as in all of my sufferings. It seems fitting that, despite the expectation of Joy, we remember the greatest suffering of the Passion and death of our Lord, and share in that by our sacrifice. Thankfully, the moments of intense discomfort on the treadmill have grown fewer and there are actually moments that the work I am doing isn’t my foremost thought. I am reminded that we are not supposed to suffer always. There are seasons for every purpose under Heaven.
In my own sufferings, my cross is one that will never be gone from my shoulders, and yet, there are moments when I am not ‘suffering’ at all. There are plenty of times in my day-to-day life that I am not thinking of my sorrows or feeling their weight. There are many moments that my inner Joy is more present and I am filled with a sense of Hope. I know there are many reasons for that, not the least of which is tremendous grace, but there is room for both to coexist. They need to coexist. The one is made more powerful by the presence of the other.
The mysteries of the rosary speak to this constant dichotomy of suffering and Joy. Out of twenty mysteries surrounding the Life of our Lord and our Lady, only five of them are sorrowful. We only meditate on them two days out of seven (Tuesdays and Fridays). The church, in her wisdom, sets aside time each year to dig into suffering, but only six weeks out of fifty-two. How appropriate for me that the timing of my toughest dates lead in and coincide with this time in the church. For those who haven’t known suffering of their own yet, meditating on the sorrows of Jesus and Mary can transform us. How can we have hope in Resurrection if we don’t first know death?
I don’t only suffer, but I can speak to it well for having spent some time there; I have really gotten to know death. By Easter Sunday, I will be ready to shake the dust from my feet, put suffering in its place for a while, and rejoice with the greatest Joy that (sometimes here, and always for eternity) I get to know the reprieve from “having suffered.” I will rejoice whole-heartedly in the next season of Resurrection, which fills my soul with untold freedom and joy!
“There is a time for everything, and a season for every activity under the heavens: A time to give birth and a time to die; A time to plant and a time to uproot what is planted. A time to kill and a time to heal; A time to tear down and a time to build up. A time to weep and a time to laugh; A time to mourn and a time to dance.…” (Ecc 3:1-4)