One of our friends — a rabid Blackhawks fan — had open heart surgery several weeks ago and started cardiac rehab.
Out of the blue, he got seriously ill last week. It has been touch and go.
His girlfriend, Laura, has been keeping that agonizing vigil at his hospital bedside.
After Bill was hospitalized, Laura’s mom broke her hip. Her mom has been in ICU in a different hospital.
Laura had a painful knee injury not too long ago and has been convalescing.
Now she is the caregiver.
And being pulled in different directions.
Life has a way of getting in the way of our peace and happiness.
Just ask St. Paul and St. Barnabas and the other disciples who were sharing the Good News in Lystra.
… some Jews from Antioch and Iconium arrived and won over the crowds. They stoned Paul and dragged him out of the city, supposing that he was dead. – Acts 14:19
That was the thanks Paul got for sharing the Good News.
Jesus tells the disciples in today’s Gospel
“Peace I leave with you; my peace I give to you. Not as the world gives do I give it to you. Do not let your hearts be troubled or afraid.” – John 14:27
Peace? God, how can we be at peace with all of the turmoil in our lives?
We can’t do it alone. We need our friends, definitely. But even they are not enough. In the dark emptiness of our most troubled thoughts, where our friends can’t go, we need more.
Life is not lived without suffering.
God sent an angel to ask an ordinary young lady to do an extraordinary thing.
He asked Mary to bear the burden of pregnancy, to give birth to His Son. To allow her offspring to be tortured, reviled, and killed. To bear our suffering and bring us peace.
There’s only one way out of this life. And it usually involves some sort of pain.
God knew that. And Jesus was His answer. Without the promise of eternal life, this life can seem like a cruel joke.
St. Faustina says in her diary (1570)
“… all mankind calls out from the abyss of its misery…
… do not reject the prayer of this earth’s exiles! O Lord, (you) are acquainted with our misery through and through…”
Tuesdays and Fridays are traditionally the days we rosary-praying types reflect on the Sorrowful Mysteries of the Rosary, when we recall Christ’s passion and death, from the Garden of Gethsemane to His crucifixion on Calvary.
To help me stay focused on saying the rosary as I go about my morning routine, I regularly listen to rosaries led by Father Patrick Peyton, who came to be known as “The Rosary Priest.” There is a wonderful YouTube version of the Sorrowful Mysteries in which Father Peyton chose the theme of Loneliness.
Jesus was very familiar with the temptations, hard choices, sufferings, and sorrows of human life. He knew abandonment in the Garden of Gethsemane. The Apostles couldn’t stay awake to pray with Jesus and when the soldiers came for Him, they fled. Jesus saw how the women along the long route to Calvary wept for him and in His weakness, He comforted them. And on Calvary, Jesus felt abandoned by His Father, yet he continued to pray.
Our road may not be as physically painful as the road to Calvary. Or it might. But there is a journey we all have to take to get to Heaven. Some of us will suffer for a long time. Some of us will suffer through the pain and suffering of a loved one, maybe more than one at the same time.
Some of us will suffer loss long before our life’s journey has ended. Loss hurts. Loss of a parent or a child. The pain of divorce or the end of a relationship. Financial hardship. Humiliation. Legal troubles. Unemployment. Feelings of inadequacy.
The list is long. Life isn’t perfect.
When we suffer, we ask friends and family to pray. Sometimes they’re available to physically comfort us. Or to sit and talk with us.
If they’re not, rely on prayer. Rely on Jesus. And yes, rely on Mary. Just as you would ask a friend to pray for you, why wouldn’t you ask the mother of Jesus to pray for you, to intercede on your behalf to her Son?
Mary has no divine power. But she has a special relationship with the Divine, doesn’t she?
Thanks for taking some of your precious time today to read my thoughts. My intention, beginning Friday, April 17, 2015, is to post a brief, daily meditation based on the readings from the day’s Catholic liturgy. I would appreciate your help and encouragement. This is something I’ve been called to do for some time. I’m finally embracing it. Father, forgive me for procrastinating.