As I walked from the rectory to the high school last night for a volleyball scrimmage I found myself reflecting on suffering and the love we come to experience through suffering.
We share our sufferings and difficulties with those with love, that is, with our close family and friends. We share our sufferings with our loved ones by talking with them about our trials, hurts and pains, much as we would share with our joys and happiness. Sometimes we seek their assistance and aid, sometimes we seek their advice, and sometimes we simply seek an understanding and listening ear.
We share none of this with complete strangers or even friends with whom we are really more acquaintances.
Is it any wonder then that the Christ desires to share his suffering with us? He does far more than simply describe his suffering to us, as we do with our friends. Jesus calls us friends and so he invites us to share fully in his sufferings by taking up the Cross and following after him, so that we might share also in his glory.
Seen in this light it seems not so strange that we must suffer with him, for in this way he demonstrates his love quite clearly.
How great is the love of God! Give us your grace to carry the Cross!