By Kathy Fanger
As we continue our Lenten journey, we reflect upon Jesus’ Life, Passion and Death, and his glorious Resurrection. Jesus suffered rejection and excruciating pain – all for our sins.
In our lives, we, too, experience suffering. We suffer when those we love suffer. We share their pain. We especially suffer grief when a loved one dies. Sometimes, the only prayer we can beg of Jesus is “Help!” Jesus prayed, “Father, take this cup from me, yet not my will but yours be done.” (Luke 22:42)
It is natural to want to push suffering away, yet when we face our suffering and grief, aligning them with Jesus’ Cross, we become transformed. Paul G. Crowley, S.J. in his book “Unwanted Wisdom” cites Karl Rahner, S.S., who believes that God does not will us to suffer, however God allows suffering. God works in and through our suffering, never abandoning us. “The Lord is close to the broken-hearted, he rescues those whose spirits are crushed.” (Mark 15:34)
We need not bear our sufferings alone
When Jesus, in weakness and pain, bore the heaviness of carrying his cross, Simon the Cyrene carried his cross for him. There may be others who offer to carry our crosses. When we find it too difficult to pray, the saints and those in the Body of Christ pray for and with us.
Imagine the piercing agony that Jesus’ mother endured on the road to Calvary…seeing her son suffer in such pain, weeping at the foot of his cross, and cradling his lifeless body in her arms. Simeon foretold, “And you yourself a sword will pierce.” (Luke 2:35). Mary understands our suffering and grief. We can speak with her and pray the Rosary, especially the Sorrowful Mysteries, for strength, as she draws us close to her Son. We can accompany her at our parish’s Stations of the Cross.
Scripture offers us prayers, including the Psalms, which give us words for the times we have no words of our own. We can also resort to silence. Saint John of the Cross teaches, “Silence is God’s first language. In our dark hours, it can lift our sufferings to God.” Consider spending time in silence – at home or at church in Adoration.
Jesus lights the path of hope
“Whoever wants to be my disciple must deny himself, take up his cross daily, and follow me. For whoever wishes to save his life will lose it; but whoever loses his life for my sake will find it.” (Matthew 16:24-25). We need to trust that in Jesus’ cross and our crosses, our suffering and grief will be transformed. We will receive a new spirit.
Lent leads us to the empty tomb and Jesus’ resurrection. He triumphed over sin, suffering and death. For we who suffer, our hope is in our own resurrection, knowing that death is a way to new life. For our loved ones who have died, “Life is changed, not ended.” (Roman Missal). We can look forward with great hope to when we, too, are called home to be united with Christ and with our loved ones forever.
Know that we walk with you in your suffering. Catholic Cemeteries is a sacred place where those who have died, now in the home of the Lord, are remembered, along with you, in prayer. We are here to support you before, during and after the death of a loved one. Whether you are caring for a loved one, experiencing a life changing event or just need resources, we are here for you. Contact us at (650) 549-6056 or firstname.lastname@example.org.
Planning a Catholic Funeral
April 3 from 10 a.m. – 12 p.m.
Saint Anthony Parish, 20101 McKean Rd. San Jose.
Presenters: Father Christopher Bennett, Lima-Campagna-Alameda Mission Chapel and Catholic Cemeteries.
New Paths for Healing – Travelling through Lent with personal grief
April 6 from 9:30 a.m. – 3 p.m.
Saint Mary’s Parish – Hofmann Center, 219 Bean Ave. Los Gatos.
Cost is $15. RSVP required by April 2, (408) 342-1517.
Ching Ming Rosary and Mass Remembrance of Ancestors
April 6, Rosary 10 a.m.; Mass 10:30 a.m. (Bilingual: Mandarin/English)
Gate of Heaven Catholic Cemetery – All Saints Chapel.
Celebrant: Father Alberto Olivera.
Sponsored by San Jose Chinese Catholic Mission and Catholic Cemeteries.