We’ve given up a lot this Lent, haven’t we? Mostly, I’ve been struck with gratitude for what we do have: a comfortable home, enough food to eat, a yard for the kids to run around, financial stability. Still, even for our family whose sacrifice in staying home is minimal – This. Is. Hard.
It’s hard to give up Mass. It’s hard to give up spending time with our loved ones. It’s hard to change our routine, to give up small comforts, and to adjust our lives so dramatically. It’s hard to wait in the anxious unknown.
As we approach Good Friday, we remember that suffering does not have the last word. The emptiness, darkness, pain, and misery of the cross are not the end of the story – they are the way by which we pass to eternal life.
It’s hard, in this time, to hold in tension compassion for my little sufferings and solidarity with those who suffer the real costs of this pandemic. It’s hard to see, in the midst of all this suffering, how God might bring resurrection out of it. Late at night, struggling with my own vulnerability to the pain and anxieties of this time, I wrote this prayer of surrender to Jesus. Our faith teaches us that by some mystery, we can join our sufferings to Christ’s on the cross. We might not have control over what this pandemic takes from us, but we can embrace our suffering and offer it to Jesus.
I hope that you will pray this prayer with me, that together on this day and the days to come, we can unite in all that we have been asked to bear and offer it up, never losing sight of the hope that we have in Jesus, whose victory has already been won.
“A Prayer for Hope in the Darkness”
Jesus, for my small portion of suffering today, I thank you for the opportunity to join you in your suffering.
I ask that you join my pain with yours, that what I experience now might not be without meaning.
For healthcare workers and leaders pushed past the brink of exhaustion to heal and to serve, I offer this to you, Jesus.
For business owners lying awake wondering how long their companies can stay afloat, I offer this to you, Jesus.
For parents wondering how they will feed their children tomorrow, I offer this to you, Jesus.
For the most vulnerable, those ineligible to receive financial assistance through this crisis, I offer this to you, Jesus.
For every person dying in isolation, I offer this to you, Jesus.
For all those parting with loved ones who won’t get to say a real goodbye, I offer this to you, Jesus.
Jesus, I know that my pain is real and it is not unimportant to you. Thank you for walking with me in the midst of it. Help me, bit by bit, to release my grip on it, and offer it to you. My suffering is no longer my own. It is yours, nailed to the cross for the redemption of the whole world.
Lord, in the midst of this darkness, I pray that your people not lose sight of the dawn on the horizon, of your resurrection, of your victory already won.