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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.

God is With Us

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Every now and then we have to go through some of the bad stuff in order to get to the good stuff. The bad stuff, like Jesus’s suffering and death, only helps us to better appreciate the good stuff, like his resurrection. If Jesus didn’t lay down his life for us, we would never have the opportunity to join Him in Heaven. Did you know that the heart of Easter resides in the covenant that God made with Abraham? Indeed, the history of our salvation is the story of God’s covenant with his people as told in the Bible. It is a story that took thousands of years to make. It is a story that continues to be written. It is a story marked by “Yea! God” moments and “Where did God go?” moments. It was in one of the longer stretches of “Where did God go?” moments that led to God sending His only Son to
remind people, teach people, and reaffirm people that God is always there. Faith and trust in God helps you to live joyfully in spite of the difficulties. God is with us – Emmanuel. I am hoping that now is not one of those “Where did God go?” moments for you. It isn’t for me. I can see Him plain as day. I can see what God is doing in us, with us, and through us. He is very much present. He is alive and well this Easter.

May the risen Christ be your joy and peace. May the joy of the risen Christ be your strength in your work, your way to the Father, your light to guide you, your Bread of Life. Remember that the passion of Christ always ends in the joy of the resurrection. When you feel in your own heart the suffering Christ, remember that the resurrection has to come. The joy of Easter will dawn. (St. Terese of Calcutta, Thirsting for God by Angelo D. Scolozzi)

Posted by Jill Fischer

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