Our Cross, Our Consolation

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Quiet Storm by Fr. Nicanor F. Lalog II
The Seven Last Words, 04 April 2023
Photo by author, Chapel of the Holy Family, Sacred Heart Novitiate, Novaliches, Quezon City, 2014.

From noon onward, darkness came over the whole land until three in the afternoon. And about three o’clock Jesus cried out in a loud voice, “Eli, Eli, lema sabachtani?” which means, “My God, my God, why have you forsaken me?”

Matthew 27:45-46

God is perfect. So perfect in fact He is all beauty and majesty. Perfectly whole and holy. But He chose to be like us human in everything except sin in Jesus Christ to experience pain and suffering. Even death. And right there on the Cross, Jesus felt the most painful pain of any suffering – that of being abandoned.

Any suffering becomes most unbearable, most painful when we are alone, when family and friends abandon us. Worst is when even the society would not care at all! That is why St. Mother Teresa thought of serving the “poorest of the poor” when she saw the sick of Calcutta dying alone.

It is the most miserable situation anyone could be. To suffer alone, abandoned with no one to even look at, no one to listen to one’s cries of pain, no one to even comfort and ease one’s physical, emotional and spiritual sufferings.

And sadly, it is in fact a reality happening daily in our lives, not only in the slum areas but even in the most sophisticated facilities where the sick and the elderly literally await death alone.

Jesus went through the same experience too, abandoned by almost everyone. Of the twelve Apostles, one betrayed Him, the leader denied Him thrice, going into hiding along with the other ten except for the youngest of them, John the Beloved who stood with Mother Mary there at the foot of the Cross along with two other women. Not one of those He had healed nor fed came.

But Jesus never felt alone on the Cross. Like any good and pious Jew, He prayed Psalm 22, a psalm of lament, of suffering and total trust in God.

And that is the good news of Jesus dying on the Cross. From then on, humans have never been alone in life’s pains and sufferings, even death because God has consoled us in Christ through the Cross. From the Latin words con solare that literally mean to be with one who is alone (solo), God has become most closest and truly one with us in our sufferings and death in Jesus Christ so that we too may be one in Him and with Him in His Resurrection.

Because he himself was tested through what he suffered, he is able to help those who are being tested.

Hebrews 2:18

In my two years as chaplain of Our Lady of Fatima University and Fatima University Medical Center, I have seen and experienced first hand how real some people – young and old alike, sick and those with strong and robust bodies, rich and poor alike many times feel alone in their sufferings and miseries. Many are crying in pain alone, by themselves because the wife or husband or children or parents and friends are so busy or away for various reasons.

Is anybody still home?

Let us pray for one another, especially those suffering alone.

God of all consolation,
You gave us Your Son Jesus Christ
in order to experience Your love and mercy,
Your healing and comfort,
Your presence and peace
so that we may never be alone;
may we always remember when we are
in our most trying moments in life,
when we feel alone and abandoned
because that is when Jesus is most closest
with us, us present right in our sufferings,
right where we are on the Cross.
Amen.
Never say, “walang-wala ako” because we always have God – “laging mayroon tayo, ang Diyos.” When there are storms, that is when rainbows appear, like the outstretched arms of Jesus on the Cross, consoling us, assuring us He is with us, ever-present. Photo by author, 04 March 2023, Katmon Nature Sanctuary & Beach Resort, Bgy. Binulusan, Infanta, Quezon.
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