I opened the fridge and sighed heavily.
I had to eat, but the prospect brought me zero joy. I pushed aside the tantalizing items I’d gotten the rest of the family and, feeling sorry for myself, grabbed a few of the bland, limited ingredients my body wouldn’t reject with my chronic illness.
I had to eat to survive, yet, like the Israelites from today’s reading, preferred to grumble against the monotony of my severely restricted diet rather than recognize that every day, the Lord still fed me in the midst of my suffering and gave me the incomparable gift of another day.
Yet one day as I showed up to daily Mass at my parish, I saw the kind sacristan glance at me—then scurry to ensure my low-gluten host was placed on the altar before Mass started.
I choked with emotion, and the Lord had finally broke through to my heart. He was saving me precisely through this suffering that He didn’t cause, yet still allowed.
Through this suffering, I gained the eyes to see how He was literally providing my daily bread. Through this particular suffering, I learned to be grateful for the Eucharist—Christ’s own suffering and sacrifice for me—in a way I never would have otherwise. Through this cross, the Lord had softened my heart in genuine compassion for others’ suffering.
As I continue to try and unite my little cross to Christ’s victorious Cross, the Lord can more deeply purify me, sanctify me, and redeem me from the self-seeking trappings of this world that lead to eternal death.
We exult Christ’s Holy Cross today not because we glorify suffering, which always comes from evil, but rather because we glorify how through the Cross, Christ defeats even the most hopeless suffering with impossible-seeming redemption and eternal life.
Indeed, Our Lord Jesus voluntarily left paradise and perfection to enter into our suffering state and elevate us to a supernatural, everlasting life that will never be touched by suffering again.
What are you suffering? Unite it to Christ’s exalted Cross today and entrust its victory to the One Who defeated death itself.Christ defeats even the most hopeless suffering. // @megan_hjelmstad Click To Tweet
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