Tuesday, July 27, 2010

Memorial of Bl Titus Brandsma

"Jesus called himself the head of the Mystical Body, of which we are the members. He is the vine, we are the branches. He laid himself in the winepress and himself trod it. He handed us the wine so that, drinking it, we might lead his life, might share his suffering. Whoever wishes to do my will, let him daily take up his cross. Whoever follows me has the light of life. I am the way, he said. I have given you an example, so that as I have done so you may do also. And when his disciples did not understand that his way would be a way of suffering, he explained this to them and said, Should not the Christ so suffer, in order to enter into his glory?

Then the hearts of the disciples burned within them. God’s word had set them on fire. And when the Holy Spirit had descended on them to fan that divine fire into flame, then they were glad to suffer scorn and persecution, whereby they resembled him who had preceded them on the way of suffering.

The prophets had already marked his way of suffering; the disciples now understood that he had not avoided that way. From the crib to the cross, suffering, poverty and lack of appreciation were his lot. He had directed his whole life to teaching people how different is God’s view of suffering, poverty and lack of human appreciation from the foolish wisdom of the world. After sin, suffering had to follow so that, through the cross, man’s lost glory and life with God might be regained. Suffering is the way to heaven. In the cross is salvation, in the cross is victory. God willed it so. He himself assumed the obligation of suffering in view of the glory of redemption. Saint Paul makes it clear to us how all the disasters of this earthly life are insignificant, how they must be considered as nothing and passing, in comparison with the glory that will be revealed to us when the time of suffering is past and we come to share in God’s glory.

Mary, who kept all God’s words in her heart, in the fullness of grace granted her, understood the great value of suffering. While the apostles fled, she went out to meet the Savior on the Way to Calvary and stood beneath the cross, in order to share his grief and shame to the end. And she carried him to the grave, firmly trusting that he would rise.

We object when he hands us the chalice of his suffering. It is so difficult for us to resign ourselves to suffering. To rejoice in it strikes us as heroic. What is the value of our offering of self if we unite ourselves each morning only in word and gesture, rather than in thought and will, to that offering which we, together with the Church, make of him with whom we are in the one body?

Jesus once wept over Jerusalem.

Oh, that this day you had known the gift of God!

Oh, that this day we might realize the value God has placed on the suffering he sends: He, the All-Good."

-- From the writings of Bl Titus Brandsma, OCarm

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