A while back I read a thought-provoking post by Ouiz (one of my MegaMom interviewees) in which she mentioned an interesting idea she got from the How-To Book of the Mass: before Mass, she prays to ask God to help her hear a single word or phrase that she’s supposed to take with her and ponder throughout the day. She said that God has answered this prayer every time.
I was intrigued, so I tried it.
In my typical ADD, scattered way, my “prayer” was more like thinking that I would like to do that thing that Ouiz did the day before Mass, and then completely forgetting about it after that. So I was caught off guard when I was kneeling in Mass the next day, and during the Consecration a phrase I’ve heard every single Sunday since I began attending Catholic churches hit me like a ton of bricks:
A death he freely accepted.
I suddenly remembered my little prayer, and there was no question that this was the phrase I was meant to hear. Normally I would analyze something like this to death, focusing on a bunch of other phrases after that, wondering which one I was supposed to meditate on or if this whole thing was all in my head — but this time there was no doubt. That was my phrase, and God wanted me to think about it.
As I lay in bed that night, I rolled it over and over in my mind.
God died. God…died. God — the author of all that is, the Force behind everything from love to oceans to supernovae — experienced death.
He freely accepted.
In his human form, he felt pain, experienced dread, wished it could be some other way. He could have gotten out of it. But he didn’t. He gave up everything, and he gave it up for us. Without complaint. About to experience the most painful, unfair, unjust, undeserved act in the history of the universe, he accepted it without even an utterance of the type of complaining I do when I feel like I have too much laundry to do.
This ended up being a powerful meditation that gave me a lot of important food for thought, specifically in areas that I most needed to work on (ahem, complaining about even the smallest sacrifices).
I thought I’d share in case anyone else finds it interesting. Every time I’ve prayed for this since then, I have received an equally clear, helpful answer. Each Sunday now I look forward to seeing what new word or phrase I’ll be given to ponder throughout the week.