Here is the Prayer Book collect for today, the Wednesday in Holy Week:
O Lord God, whose blessed Son our Saviour gave his back to the smiters and hid not his face from shame: Grant us grace to take joyfully the sufferings of the present time, in full assurance of the glory that shall be revealed; through the same thy Son Jesus Christ our Lord, who liveth and reigneth with thee and the Holy Spirit, one God, for ever and ever. Amen.
This collect has been prayed for several generations during which “the sufferings of the present time” have kept changing. Whatever they are, these sufferings are framed by two constants. One is that Christ’s earthly humiliations for our sake are over and done, complete. The other constant is “the glory that shall be revealed” to us in the end. Between these two appears the great miracle of grace that allows us not only to endure, but “to take joyfully” the sufferings of our day. That we can do so is not human achievement, but God’s work in us.
The Rev. Charles Hoffacker is a retired priest of the Diocese of Washington