“Nothing but the Blood” by Hillsong
The new meaning that Christ gave to suffering was not so much made manifest in his death but rather in his victory over death, that is, the Resurrection. He “was put to death for our trespasses and raised for our justification” (Romans 4:25): the two events are inseparable in the thought of Paul and of the Church.
It is a universal human experience: in this life pleasure and pain follow one another with the same regularity with which, when a wave swells in the ocean, a trough follows a crest and sucks in the shipwrecked sailor. “Full from the fount of Joy’s delicious springs, some bitter o’er the flowers its bubbling venom springs”, the pagan poet Lucretius wrote . Drug use, the abuse of sex, and homicidal violence all provide momentary intoxicating pleasure but lead to the person’s moral dissolution and often also to his physical ruin.
Christ, with his Passion and death, inverted the relationship between pleasure and pain: “for the joy that was set before Him [He] endured the Cross” (Hebrews 12:2). No longer is it pleasure which ends in suffering, but suffering that leads to life and joy. It is not only a different order of events; in this way it is joy, not suffering, that has the last word, a joy that will last for eternity. “Christ being raised from the dead will never die again; death no longer has dominion over him” (Romans 6:9). Nor will it have any power over us.
God, I believe you destroyed death with your death on the cross. Thank you for all you suffered so that we could on day be united in heaven; I am so grateful for your sacrifice. Teach me to accept the crosses that are in my life because I know they will help me grow in virtue. Be close to me as I carry my cross and help me to always look ahead with hope to the joy that you promised would come after suffering. Amen.
A lot of Churches will be praying the Stations of the Cross today. If you’re not able to participate, pray them by yourself. Spend some time praying before a crucifix. Get out a journal and write a letter to God, telling Him why you’re grateful to Him, and what crosses in your life you want to offer up.