Savior's sacrifice shall wipe away tears

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"Woman, why weepest thou?" the Savior asked Mary Magdalene who "stood without at the sepulchre weeping." (John 20:14-15.)

These words, said President James E. Faust, were not just to the sorrowing Mary. "He was also speaking to us - men, women and children and all of mankind ever born or yet to be born, for the tears of sorrow, pain or remorse are the common lot of mankind."

President Faust, second counselor in the First Presidency, directed his remarks Sunday morning to "those who have heart-rending challenges," whether they be physical or emotional infirmities, or from the effects of transgression.

"The complexities of this life at times tend to be very dehumanizing and overwhelming. Some have so much, while others struggle with so very little," he said. "It is a joy to meet with the faithful members of the Church all over the world. Even though some of them have difficulties and challenges and lack material wealth, yet they seem to find much happiness and are able to walk in faith over the rough cobblestones of life. Their deep faith strengthens ours as we meet with them.

"Many who think that life is unfair," he continued, "do not see things within the larger vision of what the Savior did for us through the Atonement and the Resurrection. Each of us has at times agony, heartbreak and despair when we must, like Job, reach deep down inside to the bedrock of our own faith. The depth of our belief in the Resurrection and the Atonement of the Savior will, I believe, determine the measure of courage and purpose with which we meet life's challenges.

"The first words of the risen Lord to His disciples were, Peace be unto you.' He has also promised:Peace in this world, and eternal life in the world to come.' The Atonement and the Resurrection have taken place. Our Lord and Savior suffered that appalling agony in Gethsemane. He performed the ultimate sacrifice in dying on the cross and then breaking the bonds of death.

"All of us benefit from the transcendent blessings of the Atonement and the Resurrection, through which the divine healing process can work in our lives. The hurt can be replaced by the joy the Savior promised.

"Through faith and righteousness all of the inequities, injuries and pains of this life can be fully compensated for and made right. Blessings denied in this life will be fully recompensed in the eternities. Through complete repentance our sins can be forgiven and we can enjoy eternal life. Thus, our suffering in this life can be as the refining fire, purifying us for a higher purpose. Heartache can be healed, and we can come to know a soul-satisfying joy and happiness beyond our dreams and expectations. The resolution promised by the Atonement and the Resurrection continues in eternity. Physical limitations will be compensated."

That resolution, President Faust explained, is brought about by the Savior's intercession.

"All of us have made wrong turns along the way," he continued. "I believe the kind and merciful God, whose children we are, will judge us as lightly as He can for the wrongs that we have done and give us the maximum blessing for the good that we do."

President Faust emphasized the vital importance of resolving transgression through the process of repentance. He then explained that the Savior gives a profound key by which one can cope with and even surmount the debilitating forces of the world.

In the Lord's intercessory prayer in John 17, the Savior said, "I pray not that thou shouldest take them out of the world, but that thou shouldest keep them from the evil."

"This grand key then is that, regardless of the saturation of wickedness around us, we must stay free from the evil of the world. The Savior's prayer both commands us to avoid evil and proffers divine help to do so. Through this effort we become one with our Lord.

"To remain true and faithful through this mortal veil of tears, we must love God with all our heart, might, mind and strength and love our neighbor as ourselves. We must also stand together as families; as members of wards and branches, stakes and districts; and as a people. To our neighbors not of our faith we should be as the good Samaritan who cared for the man who fell among thieves. We must gather strength from each other."

Continuing, President Faust said: "Some faithful women have been denied that which is at the very center of their souls. In the eternal plan, no blessing will be kept from the faithful. No woman should question how the Savior values womanhood."

He again referred to Mary Magdalene. "She had stood near the cross. She had been at the burial. And now she stood weeping by the empty sepulchre. There she was honored to be the first mortal to see the risen Lord.

"To the question, `Woman, why weepest thou?" I testify of the great atoning sacrifice and breaking of the bonds of death by the Lord Jesus Christ, which shall indeed wipe away our tears. I have a witness of this. It has been given by the Holy Spirit."

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