I struggle to keep my eyes open and wonder where all my energy went. I take a pregnancy test and see the double lines. Ready or not, my body once again brings forth life. “This is my body given up for you.”
As my belly swells, I struggle with tasks that were once so simple. Feeling exhausted, yet unable to find a comfortable position, I restlessly doze off until my bladder wakes me up yet again. “This is my body given up for you.”
Labor arrives and I find it hard to breathe due to the extreme pain I am in. And just when I can no longer take it, the baby arrives, leaving my depleted body shaking from exhaustion. “This is my body given up for you.”
My tiny baby is colicky and won’t sleep for longer than two hours in a row. Tears fall from my cheeks in protest. I should be sleeping yet here I am, bouncing my little one, praying his belly is soothed and he allows me even a few minutes of sleep. “This is my body given up for you.”
How many times have I been interrupted to soothe a bumped head, kiss a bloodied knee or break up a fight over something silly? There have been days when I have begged for 5 minutes of quiet to finish writing that email, or to make that phone call, or to do the simplest task, yet wasn’t able to. “This is my body given up for you.”
This was the silent cry that Mary quite possibly gave. In her Fiat, she completely died to herself to live a life of great suffering. Yes, there were many joyous and wonderful times, but this lovely maiden meekly submitted to a challenging life.
Mary silently accompanied Joseph to Bethlehem, bouncing along atop the donkey, back aching, but never complaining. “This is my body given up for you.”
How humiliating to be denied lodging in the city of her husband’s origins! The only place that afforded little protection from the howling wind was an abandoned cave. Remembering that the city was overflowing, yet no one had claimed this beat-up abode speaks volumes to its dilapidated condition. Yet Mary said nothing. “This is my body given up for you.”
How crushing for Mary to have to flee in the middle of the night because Herod sent his men to hunt down the sweet child Jesus. How she must have mourned for those innocent babies lost. Then she had to stay in a foreign land, not knowing the language or customs for seven years! Yet again, she remained silent. “This is my body given up for you.”
Can you imagine the horror at the realization that she lost the Child Jesus in the temple? She certainly was unable to rest until he was back safe in her arms, exhausted after going days without sleep. “This is my body given up for you.”
Words cannot describe how she suffered watching her son, the Innocent One, get brutally tortured and killed. The depths of his love on display for the whole world to see. How Jesus suffered because of how deeply he loved. How Mary suffered because of how deeply she loved. “This is my body given up for you.”
The Christian way of living is tremendously challenging. The counter-cultural message of unconditional love is scandalous to many- even those that consider themselves to be Christians. To love as Christ loved is the hardest thing in the world. In fact, it is something that we may never master.
It takes heroic strength to put the needs of others in front of our own. It often causes us pain and suffering, but the Christian way isn’t for the faint of heart. It is through our sufferings that we are purified and made holy.
Dear Lord, I thank you for my crosses. I thank you for my suffering, especially from those closest to me. Please give me the patience to silently endure my trials out of love for you and for those around me. I praise you for your goodness and faithfulness. Amen.
Until next time, your sister in Christ,