If your journey through life takes you enough times around the sun, eventually it happens. And when it does, your heart just might break.
Rejection. We’ve all come face to face with it in our lives: Maybe your friend decided your friendship is over. Maybe that big proposal you labored over for months was met with a cold and dismissive form letter. Maybe your spouse walked out on you. Maybe your children have rejected the faith you raised them in. Whatever the circumstances, rejections like these can be devastating. They can also make us question our value.
The Soulful Catholic was pondering this theme one morning when seeking consolation in the arms of Jesus. And that’s when it hit: We are not alone in this kind of pain. Our Lord Jesus Himself knew the bitter fruit of rejection. The prophet Isaiah tells us, “He was spurned and avoided by men, a man of suffering, accustomed to infirmity. One of those from whom men hide their faces, spurned, and we held him in no esteem (Isaiah 53: 2).”
Rather than asking the Lord to console us, perhaps it is we who should be asking the Lord how we can console Him, for He is rejected and even mocked by many. How can we wipe away His tears over the ingratitude and hard-heartedness of those who have been so blessed and yet remain oblivious to His tender mercies?
The answer is this: We can kneel in humble adoration, calling to mind what He suffered to redeem us. Picture His brow drenched in sweat and blood as He struggled to carry the Cross. Picture Him falling to the ground, not once, but three times. Picture the nails they drove into the hands that healed and blessed and raised from the dead. My Jesus, let us console You in Your terrible passion You suffered for each of us!
How do we do that? We do it by silently offering our thanksgiving and profound praise in the midst of our woundedness and in the midst of the heartbreak of rejection. How easy it is to praise Him when things are going well, when our efforts are met with success.
Jesus is waiting for us in every single tabernacle the world over. And yet He is often alone. We are “too busy” to take the time to console the great Lover of humanity.
It is in His Presence that we find healing and hope and peace. We console Him by sitting quietly and keeping Him company in the Most Blessed Sacrament, allowing His grace and mercy to flood our souls and empower us.
The second thing we can do to console our Lord Jesus is to serve humbly and without complaint by taking the lowest, most difficult tasks and doing them cheerfully.
You’re a mom with young kids? You get down on your hands and knees to silently clean up the vomit from the carpet when the kids have the stomach flu (again). You’re a dad? You choose the burned piece of chicken for your plate. You’re a kid? You befriend the student no one else seems to like. You’re an employee? You volunteer to take the least desirable assignment.
I’m reminded of a religious sister I interviewed once who told me the story of the moment she decided to follow Jesus with her whole heart. It was springtime and she and the other little girls in her First Communion class were choosing their veils for the big day. There was one veil in the large cardboard box that kept getting shoved aside. Crumpled and yellowed with age, no one wanted to wear this “reject.” That’s when Sister decided she would quietly choose the worst for herself, telling Jesus, “I choose You. I choose humility.”
The God who humbled Himself to become a man, to labor and sweat and taste death — He chose humility. And He is consoled when His followers embrace the cross of rejection, when they embrace the little way, the way of humility that defeats pride with a gentle whisper of love.
Rejection? Yeah, He gets that. And He invites us to tread the narrow way with Him in joy.