Thursday, May 5, 2011

At the Cross, Her Station Keeping

No one knows how I feel.

No one understands me.

No one suffers as I do.

When I read these statements objectively, they remind me a little of that five year old standing in the grocery store, stomping his foot defiantly and refusing to obey his mother.  Or of that six year old child on the playground wailing because she has to share the toys in the sandbox.  And as I pass them by, I'm sure I've often thought to myself..."What a spoiled brat!"

That night, as I'm tucked warm and cozy in my bed, the clock strikes 2am, and I inevitably hear my daughter's cries coming from the next room.  At 5 months, I would think she wouldn't still be so unpredictable with her sleeping patterns; this getting up every 2 hours has to stop!  All the other babies I've seen don't do this!  Why is my child the only one that's fussy?  Couldn't I just have one night of peaceful sleep??  Don't I deserve that???  Afterall, I work hard enough all day long...aren't I entitled to a little sleep?????  Throwing back the sheets, and stomping into the other room, I continue to bemoan my misfortunes and my trials, and ultimately end with the very same conclusion of that little brat in the sandbox: my life just isn't fair. 

Oh how quickly I fall into this temptation.  How easy it is to see the devil offering his hand in pleasure and glee, and how often I accept it without giving it a second thought.  Before I know it, I am that little five year old stomping his way through the grocery store, or that selfish six year old in the sandbox.  Sure, sleep is a necessary thing, and I may be justified in complaining a little...but what a waste of virtue for me to spiral into the temptation of Me, Myself, and I.  Does it occur to me that my child is crying because she's afraid?  Or she's crying because she's uncomfortable and doesn't know how to fix whatever the problem is?  Does it occur to me that maybe she just wants the reassuring touch of her mother before she can gently fall back into a peaceful sleep?  No, I'm too quick to assume I deserve what I want.

Our Mother Mary kneels below the cross of her crucifed Son, tears pouring from her terror-stricken eyes.  Her Son is the Redeemer; Her Son is innocent, and Her Son has the power to make all these sufferings go away.  All this the Mother of Heaven knows, but does she kneel there screaming of the injustices?  Does she bewail her losses?  Does she charge at the soldiers and demand her rights as a mother?  No, she continues to kneel at the Cross, suffering in silence and offering it all to Her Son. 

Our Lady understands our trials and our challenges, even without us telling her of them.  She understands our weak nature, and how often we need the reassuring grace of a Mother's love.  She has suffered more than we will even suffer, but in doing so, she has shown us the way to act; the standard to reach for.  Overcome yourself.  I don't deserve what I want, I deserve what I get.  I deserve what Our Lord chooses to give to me.  And I deserve whatever suffering that comes with it.

Yet, despite this, Our Lord is a Merciful Father.  He not only has given us His Most Perfect Mother as our ultimate example, but He will never, ever give us any more than we can handle.  This is the most important reminder.  God knows what we can take, He knows our limits.  He won't give more than we are capable of handling.  (So if I feel He has given me quite a lot, at least I have the comfort of understanding that God thinks I'm pretty capable of handling a lot!)

Have courage.  Have faith.  Our Heavenly Mother will never abandon us.  Let us approach her at the foot of the Cross and kneel with her, joining with her all our sufferings, and having full confidence that God will take care of us, because He has an "everlasting love" for us.

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