Jesus suffered to save you: This Lent, really think about that

In Lauren Daigle’s song "Rescue," God is portrayed as saying to the listener, “You are not hidden. There’s never been a moment you were forgotten.” Similarly, in the Book of the Prophet Isaiah, the Lord proclaims, “O Israel, by Me you shall never be forgotten” (Isaiah 44:21). We are remembered and known. In fact, you and I were known by our God and Lord Jesus Christ as He hung upon the cross for our salvation.

Nailed to the cross, covered in His own sweat and blood, in the bitter agony of death, He thought of you — not of all of us in some vague sense, but of you in particular. He knew your name, your gifts, your goodness, and every one of your sins — even those you would prefer to keep hidden — and He chose in that knowledge to die for you. Fulfilling the Father’s perfect plan, He joyfully achieved your salvation through this sacrifice of Himself in love.

When I was growing up, my parents always took my brothers and me to the Stations of the Cross on Fridays in Lent. This was one of the most formative experiences of my early life. As we prayed the Scriptural Stations of the Cross repeatedly each year, I encountered the love of Christ for me in reading His Word and meditating both on His Passion and on the many prophecies of it in the Old Testament. I was able to see, even as a child, that Jesus’ Passion was all over the Old Testament and that, thus, it had always been a part of His divine plan for our salvation.

Sorrowing over His suffering, I realized that this suffering was for me — was caused by me, by my sins — but also bespoke His personal love for me. Praying the Stations throughout my childhood led me to desire always to love Him who had so loved me. I cannot recommend this practice highly enough to parents with their children. Like no other season of the year, Lent — and in a special way praying the Stations — was the time as a child that I learned to love God and to desire to live for Him.

If you do not typically join your parish family in praying the Stations of the Cross, consider doing so this Lent. For those of us who have previously made the habit of regularly praying the Stations, perhaps we can pray them in a new light this year: remembering that at each step of the way on His Passion, the Lord knew and loved you and me personally. As He was condemned to die, He chose death and took up His cross for you. Falling three times and rising again, He willed to continue to suffer on the way to His death to save you. He was stripped of His garments that you might be stripped of your sins. As He was nailed to the cross, as He suffered His three hours’ agony, as He spoke His seven last words, as He breathed His last, He thought of you and offered the sacrifice of Himself that you might be with Him forever.

And raised from the dead, He restored you to life. Truly, we are never forgotten.

Sr. Mary Martha Becnel is a member of the Ann Arbor-based Dominican Sisters of Mary, Mother of the Eucharist.



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