I came to the Adoration chapel empty, confused, hurting, worried, spent. I came hoping that God would have something for me. “Dear Lord, please speak to me. I need to hear you tonight,” I said.
This past summer has been the summer from Hades, and brought me and my mother heart near the brink. Just when I have felt I could take not one step more, however, a sliver of grace has been given to get through that moment, that hour, that day.
It has been in the Adoration chapel where I have found the only solace at times, and this night was no different. I felt assured that at some point in the course of that Holy Hour, God would give me what I needed.
A little over a month ago now, I finally decided to dive into the “33 Days to Morning Glory” do-it-yourself retreat in preparation for Marian consecration. This whole consecration thing is a new idea to me, but I have become convinced of its merits, and my time of surrender was near.
It was August 27 precisely, and I turned to Day 15. “Lover of the Heart of Jesus;” the section of the retreat focusing on Blessed Mother Teresa of Calcutta — a woman who held fast to Our Blessed Mother as she lived out her earthly life, always keeping her sights on Jesus.
As I reached the direct quote from this dear, humble, diminutive saint who lived in our own time, I knew that God had pointed me straight there. The revelation gripped my heart as I read Mother’s account of suffering, and one way we might look at it.
“Suffering has to come, because if you look at the cross, he has got his head bending down — he wants to kiss you — and he has both hands open wide – he wants to embrace you.”
|Crucifix at Carmelite monastery in Wahpeton, N.D.
Immediately, I was drawn deeply in. It was as if the Lord himself were cupping my face to get my attention.
“When you feel miserable inside, look at the cross and you will know what is happening. 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.”
In that moment, I could feel something deep inside shift. It’s like looking through a prism of colors and seeing one that you didn’t know existed until that moment. I could feel my body respond, my breathing slow, the toxins that had been building up within begin to dissipate.
“That suffering has to come,” Mother continued, “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.”
I know it’s hard to wrap our brains around that last utterance. A gift? But when you think of suffering as Mother describes it — a gift from Jesus — and consider the suffering he went through for us and in order to return to the Father, it becomes apparent that we, too, will have to experience suffering if we, too, are to return to the Father. Not that we should ask for suffering or enjoy it when it comes, but at the very least, we can take heart that the trials of this world will more surely orient us toward our good God, who awaits us on the other side of them.
I don’t like it as it’s happening. I don’t want it, to be honest. And yet…when I think of it this way — the kiss of Jesus, and a more sure way to God himself — I can more easily accept it, and cling to Jesus and Mary for help in overcoming it.
Q4U: Have you been kissed by Jesus lately?