theROCK

Long-suffering

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I'd like to reflect today on a small little autobiography I've read, rather a memoir, about Mother Teresa entitled “Something Beautiful For God: The Classic Account of Mother Teresa’s Journey Into Compassion” by Malcolm Muggeridge. It was published in 1974, which was important to know while reading the book. Mother was just starting to expand her charity outside the streets of Calcutta at that time. Her mission was just starting to grow. Similar to the daily readings this week. The Good News is starting to spread. Collections of the faithful are starting to take root in the cities where the apostles/disciples teach. Each small group is sharing all they have with one another as they bring people into knowing, loving, and serving Jesus. You are all doing that in your own homes right now. The Church couldn’t be stronger, in my humble opinion. Why? Because we are suffering. Long-suffering is a fruit of the Holy Spirit – it is evidence that God is alive. Suffering is meant to foster a dependence upon God. We continue to feel deeply for those around us. If we didn’t feel deeply, then that means that “we retreated so far into our egos and our flesh, put between us and Him so wide a chasm, that our separation became inexorable” (p132). We care. A lot. What we do matters, deeply. Mother Teresa lived this to her core. This is why she saw everything she did as an offering, something beautiful for God, to turn suffering into joy.

I asked our students who their favorite superhero is. Mother Teresa is certainly one of my superheroes. Her model of vocation, tenacity, compassion, and suffering turned inside out is something I strive for. While I know the poverty she encountered every day is foreign to my own experience, she reminds me that poverty exists in many forms. It is where and how we meet poverty that is the love of Jesus. I don’t know about you, but I am feeling things rather deeply at this moment. A sense of helplessness that I am unable to correct despite my efforts. It is a feeling that I am not unfamiliar with but results in a level of suffering. As my superhero demonstrates, connecting to God is what helps the most. Pray. Pray unceasingly. Pray that we learn what the Lord is teaching us and never to forget the lesson.

The Path to Life

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“Lord you will show us the path of life.” This is the official refrain of today’s Psalm. It might be slightly different than what was sung, but if you look up the readings for today, this is what you will find. And what a beautiful, necessary refrain of hope we are given today!

The world is in trouble. We are all faced with struggle we could not have imagined. Jobs have been lost. Healthcare coverage lost. People are sick. Many have died. We are all going stir crazy stuck in our homes, ready for life to “return to normal.” We want, oh Lord, that sense of security and ease we had before the pandemic. We want to embrace our loved ones. But we are trapped in a cycle of insecurity and instability as the world battles to understand the nature of this virus and how best to respond.

But the Psalm today reminds us that our security is not in the world. Our security is in God. Lord, YOU will show us the path of life, not money, not prestige, not a bolstered economy or a miracle cure (important though those are). You, God, and only you are our security. You alone give us stability and peace.

The Psalmist goes on to say: “I bless the Lord who counsels me; even in the night my heart exhorts me. I set the Lord ever before me; with him at my right hand, I shall not be disturbed.”

In this time of great trial, suffering, and inconvenience, let us turn to the Lord as our only refuge. Let this time of instability remind us that God alone is our rock. With him fighting at our side, nothing can overtake us.

Never Alone

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My Lord God,
I have no idea where I am going.
I do not see the road ahead of me.
I cannot know for certain where it will end.
Nor do I really know myself….But I believe that the desire to please you does in fact please you.
And I hope I have that desire in all that I am doing.
Therefore, I will trust you always though I may seem to be lost…I will not fear, for you are ever
with me,
And you will never leave me to face my perils alone. Amen.
~ Thomas Merton

In this time of feeling so alone and disconnected, we have to remember that we are never alone. Never, ever. God is always with us. Jesus and His Blessed Mother know our sorrows and our pain. They also know our joys and happiness. Truly, humanly, know it. They join us in it. Don’t forget to include them in the course of your day in big and little ways. Start and end your day in prayer. Share what you need help with. Lifting your voice to them in frustration is a prayer. Lifting your voice to them in sadness is a prayer. Lifting your voice to them in joy is a prayer. Help me, God. God, give me strength. Thank you, God. You are awesome, God. While short, these are all ways to include God in your day to lighten the load.

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