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.

Enduring our Cross

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How are you all doing out there? Me? Well, words do not exist for what I am feeling. I simply can’t put a finger on just the right adjective. I guess the closest would be brokenhearted. My cup gets filled by the kids and the teachers. Their worlds of instruction and learning are going on, persevering in their studies, undoubtedly doing amazing and wonderful things, and I can’t see nor hear them. I did not sign up to be a principal of a virtual school. I need people. I need kids. I need the Knights!

Last week, I was talking about how this experience is supposed to be teaching us something. I am learning a lot about myself as a child of God and as a servant to His people. I have always known that I am not perfect, but I am learning how truly imperfect I am. Therefore, I am making a change to my Lenten sacrifice for the remainder of the season and into the Triduum. This is all a level of suffering that is helping me to identify with my Lord and His Blessed Mother.

Mary, my mother, your heart desires to alleviate suffering. Help me first to offer my suffering to the Lord so I may find peace from what afflicts me. Then help me see the suffering of others and give me the desire to alleviate that suffering just as you desire to alleviate it yourself. Amen (A Heart Like Mary’s: 31 Daily Meditations to Help You Live and Love as She Does, p. 107)

Each of us are carrying a cross right now, it is our job to recognize  that and be empathetic toward it. I am working to be vigilant for how God is moving among us so that I don't lose sight of Him. Places I would usually find Him are gone or hidden from me. I am left looking for it in the words that come across my screen or through my family. One must be vigilant toward looking for it to see it. A Knight is vigilant. God is good, all the time! All the time, God is good! Good will come from all of this. Good is occurring.

In times of trial, it is imperative that we strive to find hope and bring hope. As an Easter people, this is what our faith depends on. Hope. Hope is trusting in God’s loving plan with our hearts set on the goal of heaven. To lose hope is to lose God. Don’t lose hope.

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