A Meditation on the Cry of Immanuel: My God, My God, Why Have You Forsaken Me?

“Surely He has borne our griefs and He has carried our sorrows. Yet we considered Him stricken, crushed by God and afflicted. He was pierced for our transgressions. He was crushed for our iniquities. He was afflicted for our cure, and by His wounds we are healed.”

“He bore our sins in His own body on the tree, and by His wounds we are healed.”

Please, please, take what follows as what it is: one person’s musings on her faith, on the Mystery she believes in, one person’s – at best vague, and always incomplete – description of her path to the Person whom she has found to be salvation. This is not logic. It is not science. It is not mathematics. It is not dogma – and neither is it metaphor.

He shall be called Immanuel. God with us.

He was never angry. The Father was never angry. Oh, He hates our suffering, our misery. It brings no joy to His heart when we hurt ourselves, or when others of his creatures hurt us. But He never looked on us with wrath, never had anything in His heart for us but compassion. He is the Lover of Creation, the Lover of Mankind. All-compassionate. All-merciful. He only wants to Create, to Heal, to Love.

We feared. We ran. We hated. We thought He hated us, and we hated ourselves. We ran, and thought He had abandoned us. We thought He hated and despised us when we asked questions of Him, when we wanted to know what, how, why. We ran from the wrath we felt in ourselves, and thought ourselves abandoned by the Father. We saw the hatred and rejection of others, and thought our Father was like them. But He never abandoned us, and He never despised us for our questions. Sometimes, we’re running from Him and that’s why we can’t hear the answers. Sometimes, we don’t know enough and He can’t tell us the answers yet, not in the way that we want. But He never despised us.

He came to be with us. He came to be one of us. He was always with us. He was always within us. He felt all that we felt, experienced all that we experienced. Our abandonment, our punishment – for so we understand it – our doubts, our confusion are never ours alone: they are His, too. He does not just know what we feel from the outside: He feels it just as we do. Every hurt we endure at the hands of other creatures, He feels, endures. Every hurt we do to ourselves, He endures the same. Not as two forks are the same and no eye can tell them apart, but the very hurt we feel or the very hurt we do. He is no stranger to our guilt and our despair.

He came to show us. To live one life among us. To endure, in His own body and soul, one life with its joys and sorrows and hardship. To die one death with us.

“My God, my God, why have You forsaken me?”

Immanuel. Eloì, Eloì, lama sabachthani? Immanuel.

God with us. My God, my God, why have You forsaken me? God with us.

The cry of humanity. The cry of God with us. The anguish that answers our anguish.

It was not just that He never abandoned us. He was always with us. So much with us that our certainty that we were abandoned of our Creator and our Life, crushed and deserted, is His experience.

No torment you have ever felt, but that He has felt it the same, your own torment. No bitterest loneliness that you have ever known, but that He has felt within you. No atrocity ever committed upon you or your brethren creature, but that it is committed upon Him also. He does not even stand outside our experience of having committed evil. There is no guilt, known to evil-doer or to sufferer of evil done by another, but that He Himself knows. Your experience is His. There is no answer we may have to why or how evil came into the world, but this we may know: there is no consequence of that evil ever suffered by His creatures, His children, that the Creator and Father does not know as intimately as they do. The most abject despair, certain that God Himself does not know, that no one knows, that the horror can never be worthwhile or compensated, the wounds can never be healed – He feels. Otherwise it would not be true.

Immanuel. Immanuel. Eloì, Eloì, lama sabachthani.

God with us. God with us. My God, my God, why have You forsaken me?

Our sins He has borne in His own body, and by His wounds we are healed.

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