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  • Writer's pictureLuigi Gioia

Praying Our Distress

There are times when meaning fades and disappears.

We are not spared this experience despite our faith in God. On the contrary, sometimes this confusion is felt all the more poignantly precisely because we have put all our trust in him.

We are tempted to question the love of the Lord for us, to fear that he has lost control of history.

When we are tempted to doubt of the Lord, we must not give over to guilt.

Our heart falters, we lose the momentum that has driven our faith until now, our motivation vanishes, we are unable to react positively, and yet we must not think that it is our fault, that there is something wrong with us, we must not be afraid.

When this happens, not only the Lord does not condemn us, but he himself provides us with the words we need to transform this distress into prayer.

In these times of powerlessness, all we can do is turning our ordeals into prayer through the same words, the same prayer that Jesus uttered on the cross: “My God, my God, why have you forsaken me?”. This is what makes Christian prayer unique: it is a space where not only thanksgiving and praise are welcome, but also disappointment, bitterness, anger, and even despair.

Therefore, we do not need to be afraid because of the shocking character of Jesus' cry of desolation on the cross.

At this crucial juncture of his life and of his mission, the example he leaves to us is not a stoic acceptance of the will of the Father, but a protestation.

If the Lord embraces humiliation and agony to the point of needing to scream them, we have the duty to take them seriously.

The life of faith does not spare us depression, loneliness and anguish. It requires from us that we do not ignore or downplay them, but rather that we boldly shout them out to the Father, just as Jesus did.

Jesus did not try to hide this moment of darkness from himself, from the Father and from us.

On the contrary, he exposed it so that everyone could see it, he screamed it so that everyone could hear it.

Only in this way he could persuade us that even our despair can become prayer.

Clinging to the Lord, keep repeating “my God, my God”: this is the expression of a love stronger even than death.


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