Monday of the Fourteenth Week in Ordinary Time, July 6
May We Open Our Hearts to a More Profound Communion with Our God through the Sufferings Which We Are Called to Endure and by Joining Them to the Sufferings of Christ.
In today’s Gospel, we read, “A woman suffering hemorrhages for twelve years came up behind him and touched the tassel on his cloak. She said to herself, ‘If only I can touch his cloak, I shall be cured.’”
Suffering – a condition with which many of us can identify, whether that suffering be physical, emotional or spiritual. And it is a topic which I have covered in several meditations, for it is a condition which presents itself over and over again in the Gospels, in which the Mercy of God is manifested through the healing power of Jesus’ touch!
Suffering is a condition which continues to touch our lives even today, for it becomes an integral part of our life’s experiences, and I am no exception to this.
It was many years ago that I had to have both my knees replaced. The effects of severe injuries received during the youthful period of my life finally caught up with me. And just a few months after the operation, I had to have my left knee re-replaced. About this same time, I came down with several severe attacks of diverticulitis, which resulted in having the infected portion of my intestines removed. And as “icing on the cake”, I was told that I had to have my left shoulder replaced – all this happening within a two year period.
It would have been easy for me to sit on the edge of my bed and cry out, “Why me?” Instead, in prayer, I found myself turning to God’s Mercy and His infinite compassion, and I began to recite the words, “Jesus, I trust in You”, the words of Divine Mercy, a mantra if you will, given to us by our Lord Himself which enabled me to find some sense of peace amidst the crosses I was bearing.
And it was during this time that I began to be able to let go and allow our Lord to lead me to wherever it was that He was taking me, trusting that a greater good would somehow evolve out of all that was being asked of me and all that I was experiencing. And it has sustained me through the many other operations I have had since that time!
One thing I found, through the death of my wife and the various crosses I have borne and continue to bear – some heavy, some not so heavy – I was better able to empathize with the sufferings others were enduring. My own experiences enabled me to feel a greater compassion towards those who are suffering in one form or another, whether the pain be emotional, physical or spiritual.
And I came to realize, in a very real way, that we are never alone in our sufferings. As our Creator, our Redeemer and our Sanctifier, the Triune God shares in both our joys when we feel elation and delight, and also in our sufferings, especially in those times during which we become absorbed in the emotional and physical pains and sorrows which life can sometimes bring to bear upon us.
Throughout the Gospels, Jesus shows us the compassionate and merciful Love which God has for His children. Even in today’s Reading, this very Love is manifested in the healing of the woman who had been hemorrhaging for twelve years, and in the raising to life of a young girl.
God never intended that His children should suffer, but, through sin – due to the weakness of our human nature – and also due to the “envy of the devil” as the Book of Wisdom tells us, death and suffering entered into the world, and continues for those who freely choose to face eternal perdition.
When the Eternal Word took flesh upon Himself and walked amongst us some two thousand years ago, our Lord knew that we would need help, so He gave us His Spirit and He also gave us Himself in the Sacrament of the Most Holy Eucharist, so that He may always be with us, so that He may nourish and feed us with His eternal Love in a very real and tangible way.
And this profound communion which God desires to have with each of us is also expressed in our First Reading today from the Book of the prophet Hosea.
When Hosea lived some 750 years before Christ, a time in human history during which there was great instability in the nations of Israel and Judah. Spiritual values were rapidly declining. The worship of idols and unholy prostitution ruled the day. Even Hosea’s own marriage was but a sad reflection of God’s experience of His marriage with His people.
Yet, in the midst of this sadness, in the midst of this spiritual and moral decay and despair, God spoke to His people through the prophet with the words, “I will allure her; I will lead her into the desert and speak to her heart…I will espouse you to me forever: I will espouse you in right and in justice, in love and in mercy. I will espouse you in fidelity.”
Even today’s psalmist is repeating this same theme, when he cries out in song, “Every day will I bless you, and I will praise your name forever and ever…The LORD is gracious and merciful, slow to anger and of great kindness. The LORD is good to all and compassionate toward all his works.”
And it is this compassion which we find in today’s Gospel, in which the Mercy of God reaches out to His children, healing their infirmities. It is as though the words in Hosea are repeating themselves in the works of Jesus – “I will espouse you to me forever: I will espouse you in right and in justice, in love and in mercy.”
In the midst of our own desperations, in the midst our own sufferings and the crosses in life we must bear, do we approach our Lord with the same sense of faith as the father of the daughter who had just died or the woman suffering from hemorrhages in today’s Gospel?
Our Lord has taught us that suffering is necessary for us to gain entrance into His Heavenly Kingdom, for is through our sufferings that we are purified, whereby we become more Christ-like. It is through suffering, with an opened and receptive heart, that our faith grows and our communion with God becomes more profoundly intimate – as we begin to unite our small cavalry’s to our Lord’s own Calvary.
For it was Pope St. John Paul II who once wrote, “Each man, in his suffering, can also become a sharer in the redemptive suffering of Christ.” And Charles Spurgeon, a famous British preacher of the 19th century, was quoted as saying, “There are no crown wearers in heaven that were not cross bearers on earth.”
Finally, it was Saint Maria Faustina, our Lord’s chosen Apostle of Divine Mercy, who once wrote, “…when we suffer much we have a great chance to show God that we love Him; but when we suffer little we have less occasion to show God our love; and when we do not suffer at all, our love is then neither great nor pure. By the grace of God, we can attain a point where suffering will become a delight to us, for love can work such things in pure souls” (Diary, 303).
May each of us open our hearts to a more profound communion with our God through the sufferings which we are called to endure; and by joining them to the sufferings of Christ, we shall one day be found worthy of God’s Kingdom in the life to come! †
Please Comment, Like and Share, and Suggest to your Facebook friends – to spread the message of God’s Merciful Love.
Por favor Comente, Le Gusta y Comparta, y Sugiera a tus amigos en Facebook – en difundir el mensaje del Misericordioso Amor de Dios.
Scripture for the Day
- “…I will allure her now; I will lead her into the wilderness and speak persuasively to her …I will betroth you to me forever: I will betroth you to me with justice and with judgment, with loyalty and with compassion. I will betroth you to me with fidelity.” (Hosea 2:16, 21-22a)
- “Every day I will bless you; I will praise your name forever and ever…The LORD is gracious and merciful, slow to anger and abounding in mercy. The LORD is good to all, compassionate toward all your works.” (Psalm 145:2, 8-9)
- “A woman suffering hemorrhages for twelve years came up behind him and touched the tassel on his cloak. She said to herself, ‘If only I can touch his cloak, I shall be cured.’” (Matthew 9:20-21)
- “Faith is the realization of what is hoped for and evidence of things not seen…without faith, it is impossible to please [God], for anyone who approaches God must believe that he exists and that he rewards those who seek him.” (Hebrews 11:1, 6)
- “…whoever does not take up his cross and follow after me is not worthy of me.” (Matthew 10:38)
- “…If anyone wishes to come after me, he must deny himself and take up his cross daily and follow me.” (Luke 9:23)
- “We must endure many trials before entering God’s kingdom.” (Acts 14:21)
- “No trial has come to you but what is human. God is faithful and will not let you be tried beyond your strength; but with the trial he will also provide a way out, so that you may be able to bear it.” (1 Corinthians 10:13)
- “I consider that the sufferings of this present time are as nothing compared with the glory to be revealed for us.” (Romans 8:18)
- “Therefore, we are not discouraged; rather, although our outer self is wasting away, our inner self is being renewed day by day.” (2 Corinthians 4:16)
- “For this momentary light affliction is producing for us an eternal weight of glory beyond all comparison, as we look not to what is seen but to what is unseen; for what is seen is transitory, but what is unseen is eternal.” (2 Corinthians 4:17-18)
- “Consider it all joy, my brothers, when you encounter various trials, for you know that the testing of your faith produces perseverance. And let perseverance be perfect, so that you may be perfect and complete, lacking in nothing.” (James 1:2-4)
Prayer for the Day
“Behold me, my Beloved Jesus,
weighed down under the burden of my trials and sufferings.
I cast myself at Your feet
that You may renew my strength and my courage
while I rest here in Your Divine Presence.
“Permit me to lay down my cross in Your Most Sacred Heart,
for only Your infinite Goodness can sustain me,
only Your Love can help me bear my cross,
only Your powerful hand can lighten its weight.
“O Divine and Most Holy King,
Jesus our Lord and our Savior,
whose Heart is so compassionate to the afflicted,
I wish to live in You, so that I may suffer and die in You.
“During my life, be to me my Model and my Support.Anonymous
At the hour of my death, be my Hope and my Refuge. Amen.”