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It’s Not Always Easy

Jesus tells us to love our neighbor. It seems like this should be easy but it is not without its difficulties. In loving and caring for others, we make ourselves vulnerable to feeling pain.

It might be from sharing their pain. There is good in sharing their pain. Here I think of the Fifth Station of the Cross where Simon of Cyrene helps Jesus carry his Cross. We are to help others in their sufferings. There may be times when there seems like there is nothing we can to do to help them. Here I think of the Sixth Station of the Cross where Veronica wipes the face of Jesus. She could not take his cross away from him but she could be there for and with him. Sometimes God just wants us to be there for one another. Sometimes it is exactly what we are supposed to do.

In our efforts to love and care for one another, we might also feel pain when others do not let us help them or listen to what we have to say. It is their choice. Maybe they have help from other people. Maybe they see the situation differently (we need to be sure and listen ourselves to know what is really going on and how they feel). Maybe they aren’t willing to accept help yet. We need to be patient and let the Lord guide us.

We might want to fix everything but it is not for us to do this. Maybe we don’t have the right gifts. God has given the “right gifts” to someone else. When we don’t have the right gifts, we should pray that God connect the person in need with the people who do have the right gifts. Remember, it is God who knows what is best.

There might be times when we feel like we are the one who needs help but we find ourselves consoling others. Here I think of the Eighth Station of the Cross, Jesus Consoles the Women of Jerusalem. Jesus is suffering greatly in his Passion. He could be looking for consolation for himself yet He needs to console the women. Why? Because He trusts in his Father’s plan. He knows that God is using his suffering for good. The women do not understand that. Thus, He consoles them.

When we find ourselves consoling others when we feel we need to be consoled ourselves I think of the line from the Prayer of St. Francis, “O divine Master, grant that I may not so much seek to be consoled as to console” (cf. “Reflecting on the Prayer of St. Francis”).

It can be difficult to face our own pain and suffering. It can be difficult to share in the pain of others. We need to surrender ourselves to Jesus. Here I think of the first four lines of the Serenity Prayer, “God grant me the serenity to accept the things I cannot change; courage to change the things I can; and wisdom to know the difference” (see the full prayer at “The Serenity Prayer”).

We might feel pain in being misunderstand. Jesus faced misunderstanding from even the Jews who did not understand that He was the Messiah and what the Messiah would be like.

When we feel pain, we need to remember the pain that Jesus felt. When we think about Jesus’ pain, we most often think of the physical pain He enduring as He was beaten, mocked, scourged, and crucified. It was not the only pain He faced. Sometimes our greatest pain is when we feel alone. Jesus knows what this is like. In his book, The Passion and the Cross, Fr. Ronald Rolheiser, OMI (Cincinnati: Franciscan Media. 2015), discusses how Jesus was left “alone, misunderstood, lonely, isolated, without support” (4, cf. my full blog article on this book “What Was the Worst Pray of Jesus’ Suffering?).

May we have grace we need through the Holy Spirit to surrender our pains and the pains of others to God our Father through Christ our Lord. Amen.

Peace,

Fr. Jeff

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