Lying in the wooden manger in the stable of Bethlehem, Christ welcomed the cross for which He had come into the world. At the moment of His birth He accepted all the hardship, the pain and suffering of mankind--the cold, the darkness, hunger and thirst; the pain of mind and body, the needs and the dependence of all men. He accepted death--indeed He became man in order to die for men.
Christ need not have suffered at all. He could have redeemed the world by a single breath drawn for His Father's glory, but He chose to take as his own the common suffering of all men. Unseen, unknown, Christ received His cross in Bethlehem.
Caryll Houselander, The Way of the Cross
He chose to take our suffering as His own. He need not have done this, but because we chose suffering, he chose to join us in that suffering. When we chose for ourselves, we chose for Him.
This has been at the center of my Lenten meditation this year--our need for His suffering. His wounds assuage ours. We are bound to Him wound to wound. Children joining themselves to one another as blood brothers, pricking themselves until they bleed and joining their pierced fingers together, sense the truth in this. Union requires a mutual vulnerability.
No man's cross is laid upon himself alone, but for the healing of the whole world, for the mutual comfortings and sweetening of sorrow, for the giving of joy and supernatural life to one another. -CH