Though I thought I had toiled in vain, and for nothing, uselessly spent my strength,
Yet my reward is with the Lord, my recompense is with my God…
And I am made glorious in the sight of the Lord,
and my God is now my strength!
–Isaiah 49:4, 5b
In the Liturgy today we continue hearing the Servant Songs from Isaiah, those mysterious passages relating to a suffering servant who trusts in the Lord and becomes great in spite of–or because of–his suffering. As Christians, we usually relate these passages to Christ, who suffered and died for our salvation and was glorified by God, who raised Him on the third day. As cloistered nuns, we are reminded that this suffering, humiliated man is our Bridegroom–and in fact He is the Bridegroom of the Church. He seems to prefer coming to us in this way, hidden, obscure, suffering, poor. Sr. Mary Laurence, O.P., a cloistered Dominican nun from England who wrote several books about the cloistered life in the mid-20th century, once commented that no bride of Christ wants to follow her Bridegroom up to Calvary carrying a bouquet of flowers! Instead she follows the same path her Lord followed, and it is not an easy one. But she continues to follow Him, because she loves Him. In the same way today let us try to follow Christ as He makes His way to crucifixion and death on a cross. We will not perhaps always be faithful all the time. But we can always keep turning back to the path, to follow Christ, in good times and in bad times.