From the Deacon’s Desk: Prayer and Inspirational Thoughts
“The sufferings of the present time are nothing compared to the glory to come.” Suffering – and the picking up of the cross – are part and parcel of our human experience. Jesus tells us repeatedly we must pick up our cross and follow him. Paul reminds us in our second reading this week that we will suffer greatly, but our eternal reward will be infinitely greater. Many are suffering today emotionally, financially, physically and spiritually. Perhaps the biggest suffering though is fear – fear driven by the chaos of divisions, by a loss of hope and by a loss of connectedness – especially to our faith. Jesus calls us to attach ourselves to His suffering – and to His Word. For He has given us the promise of hope and salvation that we might go out spreading the Good News and overcoming the chaos and fear. We are the handmaids of the Lord!
His Word – His Truths have been handed onto us – sewn into our souls that we might in turn go out and spread those seeds of truth throughout society. The Lord tells us in the first reading, “my word will not return to me void, but shall do my will, achieving for which I sent it.” God assures us of the effectiveness of His Word. We are called to trust in the Lord even when we cannot see it, that His Word and Truth will overcome the darkness and suffering. But we can’t simply spread the seeds of His truth. We need to nurture and care for those truths by living them effectively and defending them with passion, trusting always in His goodness and love for us. Some will not hear and others will avoid acting. But we are called to embrace the seeds of truth nurturing them and spreading them to those who will listen. When we do, He will be there to walk with us.
As Vincentians, the truth of the embracing of suffering goes even further. Much as the fireman runs into the fire, so too we run to the suffering – the sufferings of others that we might embrace both them and their pain. Especially today, when we may be the only promise of hope some experience in their lives. It is in that suffering that we can both see and reflect the presence of Christ. It is into the pain and suffering that we carry and spread the seeds of his mercy and compassion – His Word and His Truth! It is there that he meets us to walk with us. How do I effectively carry our Lord’s truth to those in need? How do I commit to be the handmaid of the Lord, especially as a servant to those who are hurting?
Father, let me willingly embrace my sufferings, connecting myself to the cross of Christ. Allow me to accept suffering with the grace of Mary, the Mother of Jesus who knew suffering more intimately than anyone. Help me to reach out to others, helping them to both embrace their suffering and connecting myself to their pain that they may feel the presence of Christ in the midst of their pain. Allow me to be good soil that nurtures the seeds of your Word and your Truth, spreading them far and wide to all those I encounter. I pray all of this in your Son’s name. Amen,