Thursday, April 05, 2007

The Mystery of Holy Thursday

Father, if thou be willing, remove this cup from me: nevertheless not my will, but thine, be done.

Tonight, Holy Thursday, remembers the beginning of Our Lord's Passion. It was in the Garden of Gethsemane that Jesus faced down his final doubts about his mission on earth. He made his decision to go ahead and die for us, to redeem our sins and clear the path to heaven for humanity. His subsequent actions teach us to hold on, to have faith in the dark times, no matter how terrifying they may be.

In the fullness of Our Lord's human fear and suffering, how tempting it must have been to turn away from such a brutal and unjust death. He could have done it, easily. Our Lord could have walked out of that garden and vanished into obscurity. Knowing how much of his sacrifice would be wasted on selfish, sinful, ungrateful humanity, it seems almost insane that he didn't walk away.

It seems that way, because we are so limited. From our narrow human perspective, there is never adequate justification for our own suffering--even if we have brought it upon ourselves, through our own actions. To observe Our Lord quietly accepting his terrible fate, when he knew he deserved not a moment of it--well, it's crazy.

There is something truly beyond all reason in Divine love. I don't understand it, but I try to accept it. It's a struggle sometimes, because as a human being God's ways often don't make sense to me. I've been knocked to the ground more than once, most recently last year, when my husband died. But we are human, thus by definition sinners. Mortal suffering is our cross to bear, so to speak.

But Jesus Christ is Lord. Yet he went willingly and died a gruesome, agonizing death, to show us how to find our way through worldly suffering.

How insane is it to love that much? God only knows.