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Recognition: “It is the Lord” Jn 21:7
Thought for today: I cannot follow what I can not see!
Question for contemplation: Am I “seeing” my life with eyes formed by the Word or by the World?
I remember vividly one such "sighting" of the suffering Jesus. Early in July 1998 I had just returned home from my studies at Creighton University to see my sister Barb, who at the time was suffering from a malignant brain tumor. She had asked me to meet her at her grandson’s T-ball game and I was running late as usual. As I pulled into a parking space my eyes rose to see her slowly crossing the street some distance in front of me. I am certain she did not see me as she was focused intently upon finishing her journey to the other side of the road. It was apparent that she was failing under the burden of the disease and the effects of two major brain surgeries. She was without hair, bent over, and relying heavily upon the cane she was using, looking as though she was barely able to stand much less be walking alone. Yet there she was, with that determined facial expression that I had come accustomed to seeing on her face, crossing that street. I was struck at first with a wave of grief followed with a deep felt sense of peace and gentleness rise in my spirit at the same time. She was and continues to be today a living example of the suffering Jesus. A burden in her life was placed upon her individual shoulders to carry. Yet there was a mysterious life of glorious promise living within her as she journeyed toward death those 10 months; a witness to family, friends, and health care providers alike of overcoming adversity in the midst of suffering. The Lord was with her, visible in her quiet strength yet quivering ability to suffer her pain without complaint. She was present in the world and Jesus was present with her as the visible witness of faith in action. I don’t know why I was so blessed to “see” in this way that particular morning but through the passing of time I believe it is as the Scripture says, when we have eyes to “see” the Lord, he is visible to us in a real concrete way, bringing comfort and peace in the experience.
Although it has been over a decade since I last saw my sister, the time with her during those last days is a precious reminder each and every Lent of God’s visible presence in our lives. I also wonder if this was the experience of all those followers who during Jesus’ last week’s journey to the cross witnessed his quiet and peaceful acceptance of the cross he was to bear and somehow understood the impact this has upon one’s own life. The power of God cannot be restricted by pain and suffering, nor by the crucifixion or in my sister’s case, death. And as we will see on Easter morning, as I witnessed that hot humid July Illinois summer morning: He lives, He lives, Jesus truly lives! And we are blessed when given the grace to “see” the Christ within us all.
Mary Agnes Rawlings, LCSW