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A woman worshipping in front of a cross.
Fr. Robert Spitzer, S.J., Ph.D.March 17, 20243 min read

Lenten Prayer: An Act of Unrestricted Love

Heavenly Father,
You revealed Your true intention in sending Your Son into the world to sacrifice Himself in an act of unrestricted love—to vanquish Satan, to create a safe path to salvation through Your Church, and to glorify us as You glorified Your Son. This good news is so incomprehensively marvelous, yet we cannot escape the inevitability of our crosses that need to be endured along the way. Help us to trust that You always bring resurrection out of the cross, good out of evil, and glorified life out of death when we follow You through His word, Sacraments, and Church.
We ask this through Christ our Lord.


Now among those who went up to worship at the feast were some Greeks. So these came to Philip, who was from Beth-sa′ida in Galilee, and said to him, “Sir, we wish to see Jesus.” Philip went and told Andrew; Andrew went with Philip and they told Jesus. And Jesus answered them, “The hour has come for the Son of man to be glorified. Truly, truly, I say to you, unless a grain of wheat falls into the earth and dies, it remains alone; but if it dies, it bears much fruit. He who loves his life loses it, and he who hates his life in this world will keep it for eternal life. If any one serves me, he must follow me; and where I am, there shall my servant be also; if any one serves me, the Father will honor him. “Now is my soul troubled. And what shall I say? ‘Father, save me from this hour’? No, for this purpose I have come to this hour. Father, glorify thy name.” Then a voice came from heaven, “I have glorified it, and I will glorify it again.” The crowd standing by heard it and said that it had thundered. Others said, “An angel has spoken to him.” Jesus answered, “This voice has come for your sake, not for mine. Now is the judgment of this world, now shall the ruler of this world be cast out; and I, when I am lifted up from the earth, will draw all men to myself.” He said this to show by what death he was to die.
—John 12:22-33

The Opportunities of Suffering

Nobody likes to suffer; however, even in suffering, there is a silver lining: we can put our suffering to work for us and for the world. Beyond offering our sufferings in union with those of Christ's passion (which we should always do), we can also find opportunities to grow in virtue ourselves and to grow the church as a whole. 

Fr. Robert Spitzer's book The Light Shines on in the Darkness is based on the question, "Why would an all-loving God allow suffering?" There, Fr. Spitzer writes an entire chapter (chapter 7) on the opportunities of suffering. The quote below is a snippet from the introduction to the chapter, followed by the list of opportunities that Fr. Spitzer describes throughout the chapter. 

"God never leaves us even during the most turbulent and dangerous times in our life—He is present to us—helping us to mold and shape our identity and character—particularly when the tiller of control has disappeared, and the rapids seem ready to envelope us. If we bravely put our trust in Him—and we take advantage of the opportunities in challenge and suffering, we will emerge on the other side of the rapids heading toward the salvation prepared for us by Jesus Christ and His Father."
—Fr. Robert Spitzer, The Light Shines on in the Darkness

Did This Prayer and Reflection Speak to You?

If you found that your heart needed this Lenten prayer and your faith found peace in the further reflections, consider continuing your journey with these three Fr. Spitzer titles:

Click to purchase The Light Shines on in the Darkness.

In the Light Shines on in the Darkness (the final title in the Happiness, Suffering, & Transcendence Quartet), Fr. Spitzer not only addresses the perplexing questions associated with suffering but teaches us how to suffer well. He demonstrates why suffering is one of the most powerful motivating agents for personal, cultural, and societal development.

Click to purchase Escape from Evil's Darkness.

In Escape from Evil's Darkness (the second volume of the Called Out of Darkness trilogy), Father Robert Spitzer, S.J., draws together some of the best advice given by Catholic spiritual masters across the ages and brings it into harmony with modern scientific research, offering practical ways to live out the gospel in our busy days.


Fr. Robert Spitzer, S.J., Ph.D.

Fr. Robert J. Spitzer, S.J., Ph.D. is a Catholic Priest in the Jesuit order (Society of Jesus) and is currently the President of the Magis Center and the Spitzer Center. He has made many TV appearances including: Larry King Live (debating Stephen Hawking and Leonard Mlodinow), the Today Show (debating on the topic of active euthanasia), The History Channel in “God and The Universe,” a multiple part PBS series “Closer to the Truth,” and the Hugh Hewitt Show. Currently appearing weekly on EWTN in “Father Spitzer’s Universe“.