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10 minutes with Jesus. Today: No pain, no gain

by 10 Minutes with Jesus
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10 minutes wih Jesus are group of Catholic priests who share friendship with Jesus, plus keenness to help young people of all ages to learn the art of loving Jesus and speaking to Him. You can find them in WhatsApp, Spotify, Ivoox, Telegram, Goggle Podcasts and Apple Podcast. Every saturday, we are going to share one meditation by 10 minutes with Jesus. Enjoy it.

My Lord and my God, I firmly believe that you are here, that you see me, that you hear me, I adore you with profound reverence. I ask your pardon for my sins, and the grace to make this time of Prayer fruitful; my Immaculate Mother, St. Joseph, my father and Lord, my guardian angel intercede for me.

A tweet

So the other day I came across a tweet in which someone asked why do Catholics put a lot of emphasis on Mary? I’ve never understood that, to which someone replied by simply saying the fourth commandment, and the fourth commandment states that honor your father and your mother. And Jesus, why will I think of these words of a tweet in our conversation?

And I think it reminds me of those words that we find in the very beginning of the Acts of the Apostles, those words of the Holy Spirit through the mouth of Luke, when he says in the first book, Theophilus, I dealt with all that Jesus did and taught until the day he was taken up, after giving instructions through the Holy Spirit to the apostles whom he had chosen.

The Holy Cross

 I dealt with all that Jesus did and taught. Lord, you did and you taught. In other words, you did what you taught. And so yesterday, on the feast of the exaltation of the Holy Cross, we heard those words that you addressed to Nicodemus when you told him: And just as Moses lifted up the serpent in the desert so must the son of man be lifted up. Those words you fulfilled when you were crucified.

Therefore, in the same vein that you tell us to honor your father and mother when you speak to that rich young man, you yourself give us that very example by obeying your parents, by submitting yourself to the authority, and since you have given us Mary as our mother in that very sublime moment when you are dying on the cross by telling her behold your son, we want to honor her, and especially today, when we consider this title of our blessed Mother, our Lady of Sorrows. There is an obvious connection here with the feast that we celebrated yesterday of the exaltation of the Holy Cross.

The gospel

And now Jesus, I’d like to turn to the gospel of today, and one of those gospels that we could use today is taken from Luke, chapter 2, and here the background is that meeting that takes place between Simeon, who was a holy man who had been revealed to by the Holy Spirit that he shall not see death until he had seen the Messiah, and so Simeon meets you, Jesus, as an infant, probably totally asleep in your mother’s arms.

And Saint Joseph, our father and Lord, standing right next to you and our blessed mother, and you can probably hear the excitement in Simeon’s voice as he utters those words of the famous Nunc dimittis, where Simeon prays to God and says: NowMasteryou may let your servant go in peaceaccording to your word, for my eyes have seen your salvation, which you prepared in sight of all the peoples, a light for revelation to the Gentiles, and glory for your people Israel.

Simeon

And now we come across the words of today’s gospel where we read Jesus’s father and mother were amazed at what was said about him; and Simeon blessed them and said to Mary his mother, “Behold this child is destined for the fall and the rise of many in Israel, and to be a sign that will be contradicted (and you yourself a sword will pierce) so that the thoughts of many hearts may be revealed”. And so Jesus, as you peacefully slept in your mother’s arms, I can hardly imagine what was going on through Joseph’s mind. 

He may have thought to himself did he just say sword? Maybe thought to himself that anyone who wants to come at my wife and son with a sword, better be prepared to go through my sword.

A good father

Maybe it was in that moment that Joseph like a good father resolved to lay down his life for his wife and his son. A common theme between yesterday’s feast and today’s is the question of suffering, and as long as we are here on earth this question will always remain relevant. All one needs to do is to open the pages of a newspaper or turn on the TV and what do we see? Lots of suffering.

World over. But even before going that far, you just need to look at our own lives. Maybe when you have caught your finger in the door or when you have smashed your thumb in your attempt to drive a nail with a hammer or that time you cut yourself as you’re preparing a meal or when you fell and bruised yourself while you’re trying to learn how to skate or cycle, you name it. What about our efforts to stay in shape?

The gym

The pains that we go through to hit the gym, to go out running, to go out swimming, and it reminds me of this friend of mine who is a priest full of youthful spirit, but his body is not that youthful. He loves doing sports, especially going out cycling on a mountain bike. So there’s this one day that he went out and the following morning when he tried to get out of his bed he realized he couldn’t.

He had been struck by lumbago. So Jesus, what I’m trying to get to with all this is the fact that suffering is our traveling companion. It is inevitable, but even more insidious and even more acute is the suffering of the soul or you can call the moral suffering.

Yesterday

It is only yesterday that I got to learn about the death of two of my friends: one younger, one older, and I cannot imagine what their wives and children are going through. And the reason, Jesus, the suffering of the soul is more acute and more painful is because our soul is immortal, and Jesus, you experienced in your flesh the pain of betrayal, disloyalty, infidelity, hatred, malice, envy, and what was your attitude in the face of all that pain?

Because you experienced all the pain that could be experienced, because of the sins of all men of all times, of my sins. Well, you use that pain, that suffering, ultimately that death to defeat death, to forgive us, to reconcile us with our father God.

Mother Church

Therefore, today’s feast serves as a reminder that our sacrifice, our suffering can acquire meaning. Holy Mother Church wants to remind us of that special union that our Lady, our blessed mother, shared in the sacrifice of you, our Lord, in Calvary, and that you, Jesus, wanted to associate your mother with the work of redemption and make her a participant in your supreme sacrifice on the cross, and so, through union with your work of redemption, our Lady went through the torments that any good mother who sees her son in the throes of death will go through, and in the case of our blessed mother, it was even more intense given the fact that she is the purest of all creatures and that you, Jesus, you are innocence itself.

 And so what pain, what agony second to none but you’re as Lord, and so Jesus, every time that they come across suffering, let me always remember that it has a redemptive value if I unite it to your cross. Let me also remember the suffering that I have caused you and our blessed mother through my sins, and therefore Jesus, gave me the grace to bear that suffering lovingly.

In the words of Adolphe Tanquerey, he says every one of us contributes in some way toward increasing the suffering of Christ. For these reasons, we should rejoice to be able to meditate slowly on sin’s impact on the loving hearts of Jesus and Mary. We’ll then accept our share in their suffering and make preparation gladly. 

Small things

So Jesus, let me not be afraid of suffering and let that suffering lead me closer to you. Many times it will be in the form of small things. For instance, getting up early to go to mass, and it reminds me of this friend of mine who told me a story of how he grew up in the countryside in an African village and how the mother will wake them up very early in the morning for them to start a long trek to get to Sunday mass, and many times they leave in the dark and they’ll get there maybe three hours later, and at times, they’ll get there even earlier than normal because they didn’t have a clock, they didn’t have a watch.

 So at times, they leave a little earlier than normal, and by the time they go to the out station where the mass was going to be celebrated it was still dark, but they did so, perhaps complaining, but later on, he came to appreciate that effort that the mother had made from when he was a child. He now serves as a parish priest.

And now I turn to you, my blessed Mother Mary, asking that you obtain for me, from your son, the grace to hate sin and to accept to make preparation for my sins. Mary, in the words of Fulton Sheen: Who is the Virgin Most Pure is also the refuge of sinners. She knows what sin is, not by the experience of its falls, not by testing its bitter regrets, but by seeing what it did to her Divine Son. Mary, refuge of sinners, comfort of the afflicted, pray for me.

It´s the end

I thank you my God for the good resolution, affections, and inspirations that you have communicated to me in this meditation. I ask your help to put them into effect; my Immaculate Mother, Saint Joseph, my father and Lord, my guardian angel intercede for me.

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