“And [Jesus] said to them, I have earnestly and intensely desired to eat this Passover with you before I suffer…”
Luke 22:15 (Amplified)
‘Now you see, Sisters, what God does that a soul may be recognised as his:
he gives of what he has,
and this is the same as what he gave to his Son in this life.
God cannot give us a greater blessing…’
‘If a soul with a mere spark of compassion, such as you or I (which of course is nothing in comparison with the love and compassion of Christ), if a soul with a mere spark of compassion feels the torment (of seeing God offended by the sin-filled world) to be intolerable, how on earth did Jesus feel? What a life he must have endured, since everything was tangible and present to him, and he always had, right in front of his face, the wickedness of the world which spits in the face of his Father!
Without any doubt, I believe that these sufferings (seeing the sin-filled nature of the world) were very much greater than those of his sacred Passion, because with his death came the means of ending the sinfulness of the world…’
From ‘The Interior Castle’
by St. Teresa of Jesus
(paraphrased by me)
What must life have been like for a Spanish nun 500 years ago?
The Interior Castle was written by a nun called Teresa, later known as St. Teresa of Jesus or Teresa of Avila. She was great friends with, and a great influence on, the man who later came to be known as St. John of the Cross, author of Dark Night of the Soul, etc. The book I have quoted from above is translated from 16th century Spanish into English and whoever did the translation is, although very proficient, clearly not a native English speaker. What I’m getting at is that the prose is rather clunky and in many places obscure. This makes this amazing writer rather inaccessible to the modern reader, which is why I have paraphrased this quote just to clarify the meaning.
But what a heart-stopper! To think that Jesus loved God so much, and loved all of us so much, that he willingly chose his death as a means of removing our separation from God because our remaining in sin caused so much pain and misery. I don’t know whether I agree completely with Teresa’s interpretation of the crucifixion, but it has certainly made me think. Jesus saw the sheer sorrow and suffering of a life separated from God and loved us so much – knowing how we are made in God’s image – that he would willingly walk the road to Calvary because the pain of seeing us continue as we were was even worse… it’s just beyond comprehension.
Additionally, and this is something I have never really heard spoken of, I never really considered how sin and suffering grieve God. My sin pains God in much the same way as seeing my child, my dear child, spitting in my face and walking the road to destruction.
I would do anything to stop my child from hurting. Maybe that’s the echo of Christ in me, in each of us?
Deep calls to deep in the roar of your waterfalls
All your waves and breakers have swept over me.
Psalm 42:7 (NIVUK)