Cry Out to God About Your Own Cross

“My Father, if it is possible, let this cup pass from me”

“My God, my God, why have you forsaken me?”

Jesus is true God and true man. We believe in His divinity and see his humanity from the moment of his birth. But, the events of Holy Week show us that He is fully human. The two ―words‖ (phrases) above express this as much as anything.

“My Father, if it is possible, let this cup pass from me”

Have you ever prayed, ‗God, I don‘t want to do this. This is too much for me‘? We all have prayed those or similar words to our Lord in relation to a situation that seemed to be too hard to bear. We might consider it crying: ―O Lord, hear my prayer, and let my cry come to you‖ (Psalm 102). It‘s a very human act to ―cry‖ in the midst of unbearable suffering. Jesus unites with us in crying out to His Father in the midst of His agony in the garden. He also shows us it‘s okay to do this!

Recently, I was with couples who have struggled to conceive children. Infertility, miscarriages or troubled pregnancies are enormous cross for couples. While they went into marriage beautifully open to God‘s Will, they didn‘t want this. So, I pointed them to this word of the Lord in the garden. In his human nature, He is saying to the Father that He didn‘t want the cup of suffering that awaited him the next day. It was too much for Him. Three times He expressed His will. But, then three times, He said, ―not as I will, but as you will‖. The Lord goes to the depth of human

cries or complaints or commiserations in the midst of enormous suffering to unite with us, and to raise us up to accept it and do the Father‘s Will.

“My God, my God, why have you forsaken me?”

How in the world does Jesus feel forsaken or abandoned by God? He is one with the Father from all eternity. We convey this every time we say “consubstantial with the Father‖ in the Creed. In his divine nature, then, it is not possible for Him to be separated from the Father. And, He says in John‘s Gospel, ―The Father has not left me alone. This speaks to His human nature because He is referring to His life on earth. So, we know in truth that Jesus is not forsaken or abandoned or left alone by God both in His human and divine natures.

Have you ever felt forsaken by God? We have all prayed this prayer of the Lord (and also Psalm 22). At different times in our lives, we might simply feel that God has forgotten about us. It’s like when children feel that their parents give more attention and love to their siblings. It might be an immature feeling, but it’s a real feeling nonetheless. Many people have the spiritually immature but real feeling that in some way God has forsaken them. It’s not true, but it feels true to them.

It was not true that God was forsaking Jesus. But, it was true that Jesus felt that way. The Father allowed Him to feel it in order to be fully human. Christ unites with everyone who has felt abandoned or lonely or rejected or despairing. St Teresa of Calcutta taught that these are the greatest human pains; Jesus experienced all of them.

Through these two words or cries of the Lord, Jesus unites fully with our nature and experience. And, He is saying that it’s OKAY to cry out to God about your cross or to ask where He is in the midst of it all.

May you know the peace of Christ this Holy Week,

Fr Greg