Phone: 203 742-1450
Fairfield County Catholic Cemeteries of the Diocese of Bridgeport

March 29, 2024

Prayers of DesperationIn his book “Prayers of Desperation: A Questioner’s Prayer for Answers in our Darkest Moment,” Bishop Robert Baker says, “The greatest ‘why’ prayer of all time was uttered by Jesus to his Father as He was dying, crucified on the cross.”

That is when he cried out out, “Eli, Eli, lema sabachthani,” which means “My God, my God, why have you forsaken me?”

How many times in our grief have we uttered the familiar cry, which comes from our soul and pierces Heaven: “Why?” “Why?” A thousand unanswered “Whys.”

The words that Jesus prayed as he hung on the cross, reviled and abandoned, were from Psalm 22, which reads in part:

“My God, my God, why have you forsaken me? Why are you so far from helping me, from the words of my groaning?

O my God, I cry by day, but you do not answer; and by night, I find no rest.”

Throughout history God has heard that desolate appeal countless times, especially when a loved one dies, a child with cancer, a teenager who commits suicide, or a person killed by violence or a drunken driver. The only certainty we have is that we can never ask God “Why?” enough. Some people are blessed to get an answer, even though they may not understand it and even though it’s not the answer they wanted. Others continue to ask “Why?” Bishop Baker offers this prayer for believers and for those struggling to believe:

Lord, hear my cry; listen to my question — “why?”
For it rises to You from the depth of my heart
as a prayer from one who believes in You,
but experiences You right now as far away from me.
I seek to understand your ways
and to follow your holy will for me.
O Lord, be not far from me. Hasten to help me.
I need You to answer my plea.
Turn not your face from me.
Help me to find strength for my journey
and light for my path as I join my suffering
to that of your Son’s suffering and death on the cross.
May the Passion of Jesus give meaning and hope to me
as I experience my own personal passion.
Into your hands, O Lord, in faith and in trust,
I commend my spirit.

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