One of the more remarkable prayers I learned at my retreat at Jesuit Retreat House in Parma was this one by Peter Faber SJ:
O Christ Jesus,
may your death be my life,
your labor iny repose,
your human weakness my strength,
your confusion my glory.
The last nine in particular is a tremendous gift for those of us who struggle with our thoughts. I don’t know exactly what incident in Jesus’ life Faber had in mind when he spoke of Jesus’ confusion, but I thought immediately of this one from today’s gospel lection:
45 From noon on, darkness came over the whole land until three in the afternoon. 46 And about three o’clock Jesus cried with a loud voice, “Eli, Eli, lema sabachthani?” that is, “My God, my God, why have you forsaken me?” -Matthew 27:45-46
Even our confusion can be a gift from God, and it can lead us to glory because it draws us closer to our God. It is a great temptation in the midst of such suffering, to assume that this is a barrier to love and peace. But Faber’s prayer, drawing on the life of Jesus, tells us otherwise. Endless rounds of trying to get clear in our minds when we are in the midst of mental or physical suffering can be its own form of torture. Instead, accepting confusion as way of drawing closer to God is what Faber suggests we try.
Lord Jesus, help me to remember you on the cross on those days when my mind is like a cage and I am tempted to bloody my spirit by futile attempts at escape; for you stayed still in those hours and you reached out to the thief who also suffered as you did; may I be more like you in my confusion, that I may draw solace from your companionship and strength to serve even in my weakness. Amen.