Skip to content

Compassion at the Cross

For it was not to angels that God subjected the world to come, of which we are speaking… Now in putting everything in subjection to him, he left nothing outside his control. As it is, we do not yet see everything in subjection to him. But we see Jesus, who for a little while was made lower than the angels, crowned with glory and honor because of the suffering of death, so that by the grace of God he might taste death for everyone.

For it was fitting that he, for whom and by whom all things exist, in bringing many sons to glory, should make the pioneer of their salvation perfect through suffering. For he who sanctifies and those who are sanctified have all one origin. – Hebrews 2:5-11

While meditating on these scripture passages recently, the painting below came into my mind. This painting is titled Compassion, and is by the French painter, William-Adolphe Bouguereau

The meditation that the Lord led me through was profound for me and I sensed that He wanted me to share it with you, my suffering sisters in Christ.

From my journal:

“Jesus, God crowned You with glory and honor. God subjected all things under Your feet. For me, You “tasted death” and were made “perfect through suffering.” Lord, you know how I have questioned the suffering You’ve permitted into my life. You know that I have at times, when it were possible to do so, even rejected the suffering You’ve offered, by hardening my heart, choosing numbness and self-protection over opening to discomfort and pain. I haven’t trusted You. Forgive me Lord.

When I heard myself say aloud to You, “Jesus I desire the suffering You will for me. I desire the suffering You will for me,” I was astounded. Thank You for answering my prayers for this, as hesitant and half-hearted as they have been, lol!

Not just an acceptance of suffering, but a desire for it, welled up in me Lord. Jesus, if embracing my cross is what is needed for me to experience what this man in Bouguereau’s “Compassion” experienced, then I say yes please. Like this man, I will find relief and strength for my suffering here at Your cross, holding You, pressing my face into Your side.”

I invite you, dear reader, to pause here and go there yourself. Begin by gazing upon the man holding Jesus with one arm while holding His cross with the other. Gaze upon his face for a few moments. Notice what emotions or sensations emerge within you.

Allow this man’s face to become your own. See yourself there, holding Jesus while holding your cross. Stay there for a few moments, breathing easily. What do you notice within you? Perhaps a physical sensation somewhere in your body? Perhaps an emotion? Perhaps the image shifts in your mind’s eye or a new image emerges? Stay with your experience for another moment, letting Jesus reveal what He wants you to know here.

As I walked through the experiential exercise above, the Lord added to Bouguereau’s painting in my mind’s eye.
I saw small golden specks like glitter showering down upon me and Jesus. I lifted my eyes up, looking into Jesus’ face. He nodded His head, a gesture of encouragement and confidence. His eyes gazed at me with a look of pure love and I was filled with a sense of wonder and amazement at what was happening. A sense of being seen so fully, so deeply; of being known so intimately resonated through my entire being. It was an incredible moment. I spoke aloud telling Him, Lord, I desire to move more deeply into the mystery of the contradictions I am experiencing right now.

Pain, suffering, heaviness, sorrow
yet also
Gold, wonder, deep peace, communion

Only at the Cross with Jesus can these discrepant realities exist simultaneously. Our Lord promised us that He came so we may have life in all its fullness (ref John 10:10). How full – and strangely fulfilling – it is to live such a paradox. To be this (i.e.: in emotional pain) and that (i.e.: deeply content) at the same time!

Lord, I come to be with you at Your Cross, bringing my cross too. Thank you for the strength of Your Love for me, which sprinkles through my pain in a golden shower. Thank You for letting me lean on You; for receiving my broken heart into Yours. Here, my pain and grief enter into a flow with Yours. And there is grace, so much grace. Thank You. Amen.

Copyright 2023, De Yarrison

Wife, Mother of 3 (ages 20, 18, 7). Lover of Jesus, my Catholic faith, worship music, dark coffee, and being outdoors.

This Post Has One Comment

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *

Back To Top