The sun shone between the branches of the evergreen trees as I slid my feet forward one by one, pulling with my ski poles.
The stillness of the winter morning, the beauty of the scenery, and a remembrance of the illness I overcame to get to this point filled my heart with grateful joy. A year before I would not have had the strength to cross country ski out in these woods due to Lyme disease. My ankles would have complained loudly sending a painful twinge resonating up my whole leg. Yet, I was skiing pain free in the glorious sunshine of late winter.
In the Gospel today Jesus talks about how a woman forgets the anguish of childbirth when her child has been born, and that we will grieve now but later rejoice (see John 16:20-22). He does not mean that we will forget that we have suffered. Certainly, I remember and love a good birth story. He means that the pain is worth it for the sake of the joy.
The pain we endured in union with Him will turn to joy.
In His Resurrected Body, Christ bears the scars of His passion. He bears a remembrance of what He suffered because we are worth it. Because of His Resurrection and because of His Joy, His scars become something to rejoice in.
Sister, I, too, bear scars. I bear physical scars from a chronic illness and across my whole stomach from four full-term pregnancies. I bear emotional scars that He has healed with His gentle love. We all bear scars.
But sister, our scars are His scars. His scars are our scars.
Whatever scars you bear, whatever suffering you are going through in this season of joy, remember the words of Our Savior, "You will grieve, but your grief will become joy" (John 16:20).
Our Suffering Savior has risen, but He is perfectly aware of our state of suffering. Offer your suffering to Him for the sake of the Joy to come. “And no one will take your joy away from you” (John 16:22).
Let us pray through John 16 again.
Susanna Spencer is the Theological Editor for Blessed is She who studied theology and philosophy in her earlier life. She happily cares for her three adorable little girls, toddler boy, and her dear husband in Saint Paul when not writing and editing. She loves beautiful liturgies, cooking delicious meals, baking amazing sweets, reading good books, raising her children, casually following baseball, and talking to her philosopher husband. She is a contributing author to our children's devotional prayer book called Rise Up and Theological Editor of the Catechism Studies, the Mystery Studies, and the Works of Mercy study. You can find out more about her here.