The author of the Letter to the Hebrews tells us that “Whom the Lord loves he chastises” (12:6). In the third Servant Song centuries before, Isaiah prophesied that the Lord’s Servant would endure suffering without complaining. By embracing sorrow without losing heart and by accepting discipline as instruction, the Servant would gain a share of the holiness of God.
As a result, the student would become a teacher. Having learned at the feet of the loving and merciful Lord, the Servant now instructs the nations in the ways of obedience and discipleship. But most of all, he models fidelity and long suffering. Remarkably, the Servant’s sufferings have not led him to turn away from God; he neither feels abandoned nor betrayed. Confidently, he stands before those who mock him, knowing their power will wear away like a threadbare garment, while God’s help lasts forever. The proof of discipleship, he says, is walking in darkness without any light, save that of faith in the Lord! Woe to those who walk by their own light, trusting neither the Lord nor his Servant. They do so at great peril, he says, risking utter destruction.
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LOVE the Word® is a Bible study method based on Mary's own practice: lectio without the Latin. Get the book based on her method in the right margin, How to Pray Like Mary.
L – Listen (Receive the Word.)
O – Observe (Choose one or more of the following personality approaches to connect the passage to your life and recent events.)
The confidence with which the Servant speaks of God’s vindication challenges our faith. Exodus 14:14 says, “The Lord will fight for you; you have only to keep still.” Could you do what the Servant does, silently trusting in God to bring you justice and vindication?
If you have not experienced suffering like that of the Lord’s Servant, surely you don’t have to look far to learn of others who experience it everyday. What modern-day individuals have inspired you by enduring suffering in this heroic and godly manner?
Pain, whether physical or psychological, is never far off. But if we are Christ’s body, then Christ suffers with us, uniting our pain to the suffering he offered to God on the Cross. Pope John Paul II wrote that because it was through suffering that Christ saved us, suffering was itself redeemed and “raised to the level of redemption.” Now, anyone who suffers can become “a sharer in the redemptive suffering of Christ.” (Salvifici Dolores)
Do you see your suffering as untied to Christ’s? Do you believe it can participate in his act of redemption?
V – Verbalize (Pray about your thoughts and emotions.)
Remembering that He loves you and that you are in His presence, talk to God about the particulars of your O – Observe step. You may want to write your reflections in your LOVE the Word® journal. Or, get a free journal page and guide in the right-hand margin.
E – Entrust (May it be done to me according to your word!)
Lord, Behold me, my beloved Jesus, weighed down under the burden of my trials and sufferings. I cast myself at Your feet, that You may renew my strength and my courage, while I rest here in Your Presence. Permit me to lay down my cross in Your Sacred Heart, for only Your infinite goodness can sustain me; only Your love can help me bear my cross; only Your powerful hand can lighten its weight. O Divine Servant-King, Jesus, whose heart is so compassionate to the afflicted, I wish to live in You; suffer and die in You. During my life be to me my model and my support; At the hour of my death, be my hope and my refuge.Amen.+
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