This picture is hard for me to contemplate, but not as hard as it used to be. What follows below is the answer to a question I once posed to the Lord when doing the 8-day silent Ignatian Spiritual Exercises. We were supposed to be meditating on the Passion, but I just couldn’t stay with it. I asked, “Lord, WHAT IS MY PROBLEM?” This is what I heard in the depths of my heart. I hope it speaks to your heart, as well.
August 23, 2003, 6:45 p.m.
“My little lamb, the purpose of you meditating on my Passion is not to instill guilt in you. It is for you to understand what lengths I was willing to go for love of you. You’ve heard this many times before, but you’ve never fully grasped it. The cross should first of all instill joy in you, because that is how much I love you! No sacrifice was too great for me to have the possibility of having you with me forever in heaven.
“Once you grasp that love, once you really know me and know what I’m all about, then you might be led to compunction of heart. But you were trying to go from guilt to love, and the heart just doesn’t work that way. So doing your examination of conscience, going to confession — it’s always been a stumbling block for you because you were experiencing the shame of your sins without the foundation of my love to sustain you.
“You need to know that I would never do anything to hurt you. I may allow you to experience the pain of the lance so that the deeper sickness and pain can be cured, and sometimes others may hurt you, but I always long to console you and to hold you close to my heart. I never will the actual pain. In allowing Lazarus to die I wasn’t indifferent to his suffering and to the suffering of his family. It broke my heart! How much I wanted to heal him! But I knew that his death was necessary for them to know the redemptive power I offer and for many, many souls to be saved. Knowing what they know now, Lazarus would have died 1,000 deaths for the consolation he has in heaven over the fruit borne from that sacrifice.
“You will not always understand the suffering in your life, but know that I will never leave you, forsake you, or trick you. You are my beloved. The cross is simply a reminder of my love, which will follow you wherever you go, whatever you do. My love is real, it’s personal, it’s passionate, and it’s forever.”