There I was, sitting in my car, yelling to God at the top of my lungs, “How dare you lead me to slaughter! I turn my life over to you and this is how you treat me??”
I had just lost the business I spent six years building and had invested all of my family’s life savings into. I packed up what was left in my office and proceeded to drive home to pick up the pieces in an attempt to figure out how I was going to start our life over; I felt like a complete failure. I was scared, desperate, lost and felt hopeless. I might as well have just cried out the same words of Psalm 22 that David wrote and Jesus uttered on the cross, “My God, my God, why have you abandoned me?”
How many times in our life do we feel that God has stepped away from our side? How often do we feel that God doesn’t hear us when our prayers go unanswered? Regardless of whatever way we word the questions, there are times we feel very alone and wonder if God has left us to handle things by ourselves; the answer is, He NEVER does. Still, our humanness takes over and in a moment of crisis we can have some pretty desperate thoughts, the same way Jesus did on the cross. After all, Jesus was true God and true man; how could the One in whom He is “consubstantial with” ever “abandon” Him? This verbalized moment of ultimate fear during the fulfillment of Christ’s purpose to die for us shows us we are susceptible to the similar feelings when all seems lost. At the same time though, Jesus still continued to minister, forgive and surrender to God’s will with ultimate trust during His darkest moments; so do we. Part of the beauty of our Catholic faith rests in the final week of Lent’s scripture readings. Through all of it, we learn and identify our connections to Christ. In the Eucharist, we become the church. In becoming the church, we are unified with Christ to be His hands and feet for the world. When we are His hands and feet, we also share His heart, a heart that is completely unified with the Father through the Holy Spirit. For all of these connections, this is proof that God can never abandon us and leave us alone, because He is part of us. His love for us never yields because He wants us to return to Him in Heaven.
This week, we certainly set ourselves up for an emotional road to discovery that begins on Palm Sunday, which starts out celebratory and then smacks us in the face with the reality during the Gospel; we must make it our own to complete this Lenten journey we set out on. Each one of us in our own life goes through the same Paschal Mystery from Good Friday to Easter Sunday, which starts with the story of the Passion. For me, six years ago, I saw the loss of my business as a sign that I had failed and did not complete a mission I worked so hard at; it was my “Good Friday”. However, in God’s eyes, this was all just part of my overall journey toward the “purpose” for which He created me. I needed to allow the experience to make me whole in order to live the life in ministry I was called to do. God never abandoned me and He never will; He just needed to let me take a fall so He could raise me up…He will do the same for you.