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33 Days to Morning Glory Wk 4 of 7

May 14, 2013 by  
Filed under Book Club, Vicki Burbach

33 Days to Morning Glory Week 4 of 7

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A Kiss from His Sacred Heart

Do we yet realize the mysterious link between the darkness we sometimes experience in our own lives and that of the Lord’s suffering? Let us ponder Mother Teresa’s words on suffering that come from her own experience the-good-portion-pictureand so, like her, become better lovers of the Heart of Jesus:

Suffering, pain, sorrow, humiliation, feelings of loneliness, are nothing but the kiss of Jesus, a sign that you have come so close that he can kiss you. Do you understand, brothers, sisters, or whoever you may be? Suffering, pain, humiliation – this is the kiss of Jesus. At times you come so close to Jesus on the cross that he can kiss you. I once told this to a lady who was suffering very much. She answered, “Tell Jesus not to kiss me – to stop kissing me.” That suffering has to come that came in the life of Our Lady, that came in the life of Jesus – it has to come in our life also. Only never put on a long face. Suffering is a gift from God. It is between you and Jesus alone inside. – 33 Days to Morning Glory (quoting Blessed Mother Teresa in A Life for God: Mother Teresa Treasury) p. 69 (Last paragraph on Day 15)

In a few simple words, Blessed Mother Teresa has turned suffering from something stark, ugly and lonely, into a beautiful rose, delicate and precious, as well as intimate, for those of us privileged enough to encounter it. When I finished reading this passage, I could feel my soul lifting toward Jesus, seeking that “kiss” – longing for a sacred touch of this kind on my life.  

And yet, were Christ to reach down and “kiss” me tomorrow – if my past responses are any indication – I would struggle violently to free myself from His Sacred Embrace. Think about it – is “beautiful” a word you would use to describe your suffering? For me, the answer to that question would be a resounding “No.” When I touch a hot stove, I yank my hand back – it’s a matter of self-preservation. A natural aversion to suffering is to be expected, and many of us fall short when we’re called to this kind of intimacy.

How to change? Perhaps a little visualization is in order here. By filling my mind with holy images of those who have surrendered before me, I may be able to retrieve them for inspiration when necessary.  Appropriately, Blessed Mother Teresa mentions Mary, noting that “suffering has to come that came into the life of Our Lady.”  There could be no better role model, as Mary’s Immaculate Heart is completely entwined with the Sacred Heart of Jesus. She received his kisses with joy, offering the purest love and acceptance in return.

According to Blessed Mother Teresa, “Sacrifice, to be real, must cost, must hurt, must empty us of ourselves.” In the movie The Passion of the Christ, Mel Gibson illustrates this point beautifully through Mary’s character. He allows us to witness her unbelievable strength and courage in the face of unfathomable suffering, while at the same time showing us the wretchedness of her pain. We're given several indications of the pain she must endure as a result of her great sacrifice.  For example, at one point she lovingly presses her head into the ground in an effort to effect physical closeness to her Son.  As a viewer, my heart aches for her.  In another scene, Mary attempts in vain to scrub the blood from the ground after His bloody scourge. These illustrations underscore the great sacrifice required of Mary's submission.

So how can I surrender my will as Mary surrendered hers? Despite the pain? TRUST. Mary united herself perfectly to Christ’s mission, recognizing that her acceptance – and even gratitude – for the suffering she endured allowed her to participate in a special way in Divine Providence. She completely surrendered to God’s Holy Will because she TRUSTED in His divine plan.

In Trustful Surrender to Divine Providence, Father Jean Baptiste Saint-Jure assures us that it’s OK to TRUST God – even when it hurts. He shares an analogy made by St. Ephraim:

 “…a mule-driver knows how much his mule can carry and does not try to kill it by overloading it, and if the potter knows how long the clay should bake to be suitable for use and does not leave it longer in the kiln than is necessary, then it would show very little appreciation of God to venture to think that He who is wisdom itself and loves us with an infinite love would load our backs with too heavy a burden or leave us longer than is necessary in the fire of tribulation. We can be quite sure that the fire will not last longer or be hotter than is necessary to bake our clay to the right point.”

It stands to reason that I can face any suffering that comes my way with gratitude and even joy, confident in the assurance that my Lord is shaping me to be “perfect”, even as my Heavenly Father is perfect.

But even more than allowing Him to mold me, I want to love Christ back, returning the love that He offers so freely to me. In St. Margaret Mary, St. Claude de la Colombière describes how suffering is bound up with Christ’s Sacred Heart:

Suffering and sorrow entered the world as the result of sin…However, there is now a very good use to be made of them. Many people don’t know it, but suffering is closely related to love…Suffering can express love…and it is a powerful means to make Love grow. Remember that on the Cross Our Lord said, “I thirst.” He meant mainly a thirst for souls and for our love. Our Lord’s sufferings were terribly powerful at that moment – but His love for us was even more powerful. The saints choose suffering because they have a fire of love for Our Lord in their souls. That divine love comes from Sanctifying Grace. It burns up their weaknesses and their cowardice.”  

Lord, fill me with Sanctifying Grace, that I may overcome my natural aversion to suffering, and receive your gifts with a supernatural joy and a trusting resignation – may my love for you be a smoldering fire that squelches all of my weaknesses and cowardice. Replace them with the courage and love of Mary, that I may never wear a long face, but welcome your kisses with open arms.

 

For Discussion:

1. How do you handle suffering?  Do you recognize the beauty in it?  Or do you just want to GET OUT?  Please explain.

2. Open discussion: Feel free to comment on any topic from this past week's reading.

Reading Assignment:  Day 17-Day 23.  If possible, spend much time each day meditating on the reading.

NOTE:  Please join us for a webinar with Father Gaitley, scheduled for May 18!

We are asking for a small donation of $20.00 to provide a stipend for Fr. Gaitley as a thank you for the webinar and for all he does to bless and build up the Church.

Please register for Fr. Michael Gaitley 33 Days to Morning Glory on Saturday, May 18, 2013 10:30 AM – 11:30 AM CDT  CLICK HERE TO REGISTER!

Read more: Previous Book Club Posts

For More Information on the Book Club:  https://spiritualdirection.com/csd-book-club

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About Vicki Burbach

Vicki Burbach is a wife and homeschooling mother of six children ages four to sixteen years who relishes the calm inspiration of spiritual reading amidst the roller coaster of life. A passionate convert to the Faith, Vicki is an avid reader who started the SpiritualDirection.com book club so she could embark with like-minded bibliophiles on a spiritual journey through some of the greatest Catholic books ever written. She is author of the new book How to Read Your Way to Heaven - A Spiritual Reading Program for the Worst of Sinners, the Greatest of Saints, and Everyone in Between. You can also find her at pelicansbreast.com

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