I have a wonderful Catholic friend who refuses to pray the Sorrowful Mysteries of the Rosary. She says it is too depressing, so she just skips them.
Turning away from the pain of others is tempting. Who doesn’t have enough pain their lives? In this time of roiling turmoil, who wants to meditate on the Crucified Christ every week?
Our lives are already full of emotional, financial, political and interpersonal pain, so it seems masochistic to think of voluntarily looking at the stark pain of a dying God-Man. Instead every citizen of this country seems intent on avoidance of pain through the Endless Entertainment offered to us constantly via online games and social networks and porn and shopping and sports and Spotify and the list goes on and on.
While we know that Jesus is our Savior, we echo St. Augustine’s desire to be saved from ourselves but just not yet.
When we decide to put our relationship with the Holy Trinity on the back burner and our enjoyment of Endless Entertainment on the front burner of our lives each day, we end up losing our lives by attempting to save them. This world, our fles,h and the devil lull us into believing that our time and our lives are our own and what we do with them isn’t anyone else’s business. Eventually, we entirely forget that we’ve been “bought at a great price” as Scripture reminds us.
In attempting to save our lives, our time, our treasure for ourselves, we end up empty. The new cool car becomes old, the new hook-up in bed becomes the same as the last, and, with a roomful of clothes, we still can’t find anything to wear.
Enter Dismas. The saint who realized as he hung dying that if he was going to hold onto his rapidly waning life, he was going to have to lose it. Sinner that he was, he wasn’t too proud to turn to the man dying on the cross next to him and say simply, “Remember me.”
While the third crucified man that day chose to cling to his bitterness, disgust, and rage, Dismas won eternal happiness by letting go of his preoccupation with his own miseries and uniting himself with the Man “who had done nothing wrong.” Like any true love, this union of Dismas with Jesus yielded good fruit. The fruit of heavenly life was born from the tree of death.
On October 12, 2011, Pope Emeritus Benedict said that “We are always attentive to problems and difficulties but there is almost an unwillingness to perceive the beautiful things that come into our lives from the Lord.”
The most beautiful thing that comes from the Lord is the Cross. It is beautiful to Him because it unites Him with us, which is what He longs for.
During the rest of this Year of Faith, let’s put aside our “unwillingness” which manifests itself in our addictions to entertainment, our devotion to our miseries and our wounded pride and set aside time everyday to simply look at Jesus on the Cross and whisper “Remember me.” Then He will tell us the same thing He told Dismas, “Today you will be with Me in paradise.” Now that’s a Triumph!
Copyright © 2013, Glenna Bradshaw