Wednesday, September 21, 2016

Viae Dolorosae

Do you ever feel like you have made it to Gethsemane, and life could not get any worse, when suddenly it does? Ever feel like you are stuck in Liberty Jail, with a pavilion separating you from the Lord seems impenetrable, and nothing could get worse, but then it does? Ever feel like you have made it to your lowest point, just to be dragged lower?

Christ himself was dragged down to the depths of agony in the Garden of Gethsemane; he then was forced to endure time in the mire, or raw sewage; he was mocked and reviled; then he had to walk down the Via Dolorosa, or by translation, the Painful Way to Calvary's summit to be nailed to a cross. Surely He must have felt at times as if the pain would be as far as it would go, just for him to be dragged lower.

Each of us must pass through our Gethsemanes, true. But after many more things come before us. Endurance on the Viae Dolorosae in our lives give us in some small measure a greater spark of divinity. When times are hard is when we learn who we truly are. Not only that, but they also make us into who we truly are meant to become.

A poem President Monson quotes frequently has two stanzas that read:

Good timber does not grow with ease:
The stronger wind, the stronger trees;
The further sky, the greater length;
The more the storm, the more the strength.
By sun and cold, by rain and snow,
In trees and men good timbers grow.

Where thickest lies the forest growth,
We find the patriarchs of both.
And they hold counsel with the stars
Whose broken branches show the scars
Of many winds and much of strife.
This is the common law of life.

As we pass through life, the storms and the hard times are what are most needed. We do not learn the depths of love and compassion until we have reason to go deeper. We do not fully understand the Master until we have followed Him completely. He did not shrink after Gethsemane. He did not falter and give up on the side of the Via Dolorsa, and neither should you.

You will face several Viae Dolorsae, but remember every step of the way, He who conquered Death and Pain and Sorrow, conquered not only that lonely road from Jerusalem, but He conquered all Viae Dolorosae, so that we one day can arrive at the end destination of the Via Dolorosa: Calvary, and by so doing know what He knows, do what He does, and be who He is. But to get there, we must endure all our Viae Dolorsae.