I’ve been wallowing in pain the past few months. Not in physical pain for I believe I have a high tolerance for that. Emotional pain is more like it – pain that I allowed to mutate into spiritual pain. I have come to understand the reality that when you wallow in your pains and sufferings, it will envelope you and make you so self-centered that you feel the whole world is against you.
This pain hits me hard at night, when I go to bed not tired enough to simply fall asleep. I would go about my day distracted by a 12-hour workload with the bliss of working with children. Then at night, usually after a hearty chat with my hubby, I am reminded once again of the feelings brought about by betrayal.
Last Holy Tuesday, hubby and I lined up for confession. It was a long line and the chapel was warm, I felt like I was going to pass out for lack of oxygen. But I knew it was more because of the fact that I had to face my self-centeredness. I could have simply just let go of the pain, but I waltzed with the devil for the past months, embracing all the hurts and bad thoughts that betrayal can pour upon you.
In the confessional, the priest patiently listened to my tearful litany of wrongdoings focusing mostly on the bearing of pain that caused me to take for granted a good number of promises to my God. Then after all the soul bearing, the priest in a gentle and caring tone told me, “I will not tell you what to do. Just reflect on the Gospel of the Last Supper and read how Jesus, who did not deserve to be betrayed for He was all good, was betrayed by His own disciples.” After the priest gave me the rest of my penance and as he prayed over me and I prayed my contrition, I was a basket case. I had again been released of the bondages of my sins, and it was truly up to me to let go of all the bitterness in my heart.
Through the Gospel of Matthew (chapter 26, verses 26-56), I am reminded of how Jesus was betrayed by his friends, not just by Judas and Matthew, but by ALL of his friends. At the Garden of Gethsemane, Matthew and the two sons of Zebedee fall asleep as Jesus prays, even after he explicitly asked them to stay awake with him. Then of course, the kiss of Judas…why a kiss? Why after calling Jesus, “teacher”? How painful was all of this? I recalled my pain as I was being spoken to by one of our church elders, I could literally feel my heart breaking. What more Jesus? I still had my husband, family and friends to see me through, but at that time, Jesus had no one. How did He feel at that time? Since He is God who became man, for sure He felt all the emotions one can feel when you are hurt not by any enemy, but by someone you love…betrayal, rejection, loneliness…it is more than an insult for it truly breaks your heart.
I reflected further on the Last Supper by reading the chapter entitled “When Your World Turns Against You” of Max Lucado’s book, “And the Angels Were Silent”.
“As long as you hate your enemy, a jail door is closed and a prisoner is taken. But when you try to understand and release your foe from your hatred, then the prisoner is released and that prisoner is you.”
How could I have allowed myself to be a prisoner for so long?
“…‘Who ever told you life was going to be fair?’ God didn’t. He didn’t say, ‘If you have many kinds of troubles’, he said, “When you have many kinds of troubles (James 1:2).’ Troubles are part of the package. Betrayals are part of our troubles. Don’t be surprised when betrayals come. Don’t look for fairness here – look instead where Jesus looked….Jesus looked to the future.”
I am not of this world. My home is in heaven…oh, that I may always fix my eyes on you, Lord.
“….The Father’s loyalty to Jesus is the Father’s loyalty to you. When you feel betrayed, remember that. When you see the torches and feel the betrayer’s kiss, remember his words: ‘I will never leave you; I will never forget you (Hebrews 13:5).’”
Thank you for not leaving me, even if I have left you. Thank you for dying for my sins, even if I have yet to really learn how to die to myself.
It is truly a Good Friday.