Last Christmas season, I felt the Lord urging me to do a Station of the Cross. It was quite strange because I have never done the Stations by myself mainly because I did not know the Stations. What made it even more strange is that it was Christmas season and well, Christmas season is always a joyful season and I always associate the Stations with Lent and sorrow. But after doing this, I found out why.
As I did not know what some Stations were, I had to make do with the pictures and try to recall what these were. However, at the end of the whole Stations, I knelt before the Blessed Sacrament and realized that Christmas season always was a season full of joy. When Jesus was born, everyone expected him to be the King of Israel who will deliver them from the Roman invaders. But as I reflected on the Passion, I realized that the Passion was a necessary evil because it was through the Passion of Jesus that the dreams of deliverance were crushed resulting in a realization of true deliverance: from sin.
Therefore in our lives, there has to be a Christmas. The beginnings of hope for improvement. But there also has to be a season of Lent and eventually Good Friday so that these events will bring us to a sober realization that our plans fall short from what God has planned for us. We have to suffer so we learn to trust God in everything in our lives. And after we have undergone our Good Friday, the Lord will lead us to our Easter: the revelation of his power and glorification of his name by giving us more than what we had hoped for.
This cycle happens always in our lives. The sad thing is we do not know how long each stage takes in each cycle. But the sure thing about all these is we will eventually see God's power and his name glorified and with it, our hope and dreams purified AND glorified.
While doing the Stations too, I remembered what Paul said to the Philippians, “Be joyful in the Lord always, I will say it again, Be joyful!” I tried applying this to how the Lord must have felt during his Passion. If the Word tells us to rejoice always, then Jesus must have been joyful through all these sufferings. Well, how can he have been joyful through these sufferings? I cannot picture Jesus smiling through these sufferings. I then realized that my definition of joy has to change.
What was the one thing that revolved around the life of Jesus? It was his doing the will of the Father. And I believe that joy is the result of knowing that he was doing the will of the Father and that the Father is pleased with him. The same is true for us. We cannot smile when we are suffering. That would be insane. Neither will our smile ease the pain we feel. We can only smile when we know that we are doing God's will and that he is pleased with us. A smile therefore is not the cure for our problems. It is the result of our joy coming from knowing that God is pleased with us.
May this Season of Lent purify us so that we can truly see God's will and have joy in our hearts. “Do not be saddened this day, for rejoicing in the Lord must be your strength.” (Nehemiah 9:10)