I always wondered why they called it ‘Good Friday’. You look at the crucifix, and there depicted is the most horrible image of death that could be inflicted on a human being by the Roman empire. Why should my desire to be justified require this kind of immolation? What makes me worth it?
Strange, how love and pain always seem to go together? That is continual secular widsom. Shakespeare wrote, “The course of true love never did run smooth” 1. Eric Jaffe, in an article “Why Love Literally hurts”, notes how Marjorie and James Landis were married for 65 year, died just 88 minutes apart 2. His article concludes “For all the hurt love causes, it has an equally powerful ability to heal”. It would seem pain is a natural companion of love.
Love is created, as St. Thomas Aquinas writes, “When we say that in Him there is a procession of love, we show that God produced creatures not because He needed them, nor because of any other extrinsic reason, but on account of the love of His own goodness.” (Summa Theologica). Within God’s created there is the ability to make self destructive choices, and the resulting pain is also the call for redemption.
As pain becomes the essence of alienation a realignment in relationships becomes essential. Pain has to become the food of love. Jesus “came that we may have life and have it more abundantly”3 By embracing the cross and all its horrendous connotations, Jesus made pain the source of new life.
So he was able to show Thomas the holes in his hands the nails made, and the hole in his side, … they no longer hurt…. To which he exclaimed “My Lord and my God”.4 Pain was consumed by Love.
1 A Midsummer Night’s Dream Act 1 Scene 2.
2 Association for Psychological Science. February 2013
3 John 10:10
4 John 20:28