Every woman who sees her child suffer, every woman who is separated from her child, every woman who must stand by helpless and see her child die, every woman who echoes the old cry, "Why, why, why my child?" has the answer from the Mother of Christ. She can look at the child through Mary's eyes, she can know the answer with Mary's mind, she can accept the suffering with Mary's will, she can love Christ in her child with Mary's heart--because Mary had made her a mother of Christ. It is Christ who suffers in her child; it is His innocence redeeming the world, His love saving the world. He too is about his Father's business, the business of love.
Suffering is the price of love. The hardest thing but the inevitable thing in the suffering of every individual is that he must inflict his own suffering on those who love him.
It is love that redeems, love that can heal the world, love that can save it. Suffering has no power in itself; it is only powerful to save when it is caused by love, and when it is the expression of love.
Caryll Houselander, The Way of the Cross
In Reed of God, CH talks about that fact that when Mary gave Jesus her flesh, she gave it to him so that he could suffer and die. What an awesome and dreadful knowledge that must have been. And yet, the same thing can be said for all of us. We know that we are going to see our children suffering to some extent; we know that they are going to die. Worse, we know that we are going to inflict some of that suffering, and that some of that suffering is going to be self-inflicted because they are going to sin. This, at least, is a suffering that Mary did not have to undergo.
As far as I know, the only way to be able to bear this is suffering is to relinquish them with trust into the hands of God and His mother. I was fortunate in that when my oldest child was a toddler, I somehow was given a deep understanding of this when I read the story of Abraham and Isaac. This prepared me in some way to handle some of the darker days. It helped me to trust more and fear less, although I had many fearful times. I can also remember very clearly the day, when my children were in the worst part of adolescence, that I turned them over to the Blessed Mother. I told her that she was their mother now, and I meant it. Over the years, I've said to her, "Well, it doesn't look to me like you're doing a very good job, but that's your business." In recent years, thankfully, things have gotten better and better.
Suffering is the price of love. Every time we fall in love with someone, bring children into the world, make a friend, we know that we are going to suffer because of that love. We will suffer for them, we will suffer because of them, and sometimes they are going to chose to make us suffer. And yet, Jesus and His mother have shown us that combined with our love, that suffering can redeem the world.
Mother of Christ,
help me to be willing
to accept the suffering
that is the condition of love.
Help me accept
of seeing those whom I love
and when they die
let me share in their death
Give me the Faith
that knows Christ
and knows that His love is the key
to the mystery of suffering.
Photo credit Teresa Love