Reading a book about Saint Gemma, I read that she says, “I look at my Jesus crucified, and I’m ashamed.” When I read that, I remembered one Friday in 2016. I was in the resi (students’ residence) studying for my final exams and in the dining room nearby, Jazmina was reading and studying the Catechism.
I had a few long days and had a migraine that I couldn’t stand anymore. I took a pill, and even though I didn’t complain out loud, my expression said everything. What’s more, Jazmina knew me very well. I remember that she got up from her chair, went to the chapel and got a prayer book of the Liturgy of the Hours.She came to me and said: “Look at this, it’s beautiful!”And she showed me the hymn for vespers that evening:
“On this evening, Christ of Calvary,
I come to plead you for my sick flesh;
but, on seeing you, my eyes go and come
from your body to mine with shame.
How can I complain that my feet are tired,
when I see that yours are destroyed?
How can I show you that my hands are empty,
when yours are full of wounds?
How can I explain to you my loneliness,
when you are raised and alone on the cross?
How can I explain to you that I don’t have love,
when your heart is torn apart?
Now I don’t remember anything,
all of my sufferings have fled from me.
The impulse of the plea that I brought
has suffocated in the beggar’s mouth.
And now I only ask to not ask you anything,
to be here, beside your dead image,
to learn that pain is just
the holy key to your holy door. Amen.”
After having read it all to me very slowly, she told me that our sufferings and weariness were nothing compared to what Jesus suffered on the cross for us, and that I should offer all my sufferings to the Lord: “You’ll see how when you offer it up, it hurts less.” She smiled at me and continued what she was doing.
I experienced a great relief in that moment, and now I ask her to help me to not complain and to offer everything to Christ Crucified. I’m sure that she suffered for her mom’s sickness, but she always made the effort to be joyful.
To me, Jazmina is an example of joy, not only during moments when everything goes well, but also in difficult moments.