A Lenten Reflection: How Can I Get Up? How Can I Go On?

The following is a guest post by Vincent Kania, Seminarian for the Diocese of Joliet.

Jesus with the cross

I have suffered, and the way only gets harder. I have accepted this pain, but I still have so far to go. This weight is crushing, and each step is an agony. I begin to lose heart, where can I find strength? I have already endured the mockery, the buffets, the scourging, the spitting, I don’t think I can make it. The cross digs into My shoulder so deep and with each slow step, My head and My body bleed. How can I go on?

“My God, my God, why have you forsaken me?” (Psalm 22:1)

And then I see you, My friend, among the faces of the crowd. My heart leaps, My hope returns. Surely, here is one who will show me kindness, encouragement, compassion, love. I look to your face with eager expectation, but you turn away, preferring your sin to My suffering. I am crushed, I stumble, I fall. I lay on the path in despair. I have the power to make this stop at any time, I can escape this pain in an instant. I think of last night and the cup I drank, the cup I promised My Father that I would drink, but oh how inviting, this despair. How can I get up?

“You have taken away my friends and made me hateful in their sight.” (Psalm 88:9)

And then I look up and see you, My friend, once again. You are not even paying attention, shutting me out in your own self-absorbed world of sin. But I also see your pain, which you try to ignore. Even in your betrayal, I love you so much that I cannot bear the thought, of not being with you for a single moment, of losing you for all eternity. And now you are right in front of Me, as I lay underneath the heavy cross, and finally, you turn to me. As I catch your glance, your eyes widen, and I see your agony, your suffering, and your fear. And then you turn and run. My breath catches in My throat. I want to call out, but My voice falls silent. I strain to lift the cross, to run after you; the pain is great, but My love is greater.

“He had no form or comeliness that we should look at him, and no beauty that we should desire him. He was despised and rejected by men; a man of sorrows, and acquainted with grief; and as one from whom men hide their faces he was despised, and we esteemed him not. Surely he has borne our griefs and carried our sorrows; yet we esteemed him stricken, smitten by God … He was oppressed, and he was afflicted, yet he opened not his mouth;” (Isaiah 53:2-4, 7)

And as you disappear into the crowd, I realize that I am on My feet again, moving forward, step by step. My friend, you flee before My face, yet I know that this suffering is the only way to save you, to take away your pain and give your another chance. You have rejected Me, but I still hope. How can I go on, you ask? I see you, My child. And this next step, this horrible, hideous pain, this is for You.

“But God shows his love for us in that while we were yet sinners Christ died for us.” (Romans 5:8)


Other posts by Vincent:
Friendship and Flirting
Why Priesthood? Interview a Seminarian: Vince


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