9.07.2010

A Rare Treat and Thoughts on Suffering

This past Sunday dh and I decided to attend separate masses.  My mom met me there, which was nice.  She typically goes by herself in the town 20 min away.  My dad is not Catholic and neither my little sister or my niece that live with her go.  Sadly, my two older sisters that have their own families are also not practicing.  But that is a prayer request for another day...Though she is always welcome to join us, we stay at the parish close to us and go to times that accomodate Charlie. 

Though I like going to mass with dh and Charlie, it was certainly a rare moment going without distractions and I wanted to take advantage of.  I did my best to really focus with everything I had and I was not disappointed, as you can imagine.  I felt like the priest was speaking directly to me from the opening song forward. 

The first song was Lift High the Cross.  "Lift high the cross, the love of Christ proclaim, Till all the world adore his sacred name...."  The second song was Take Up Your Cross.  There was also Light of the World and Glory and Praise to Our God.  It was all so timely, reminding me that suffering and the Cross are beautiful things and that we need to be a light to draw others to Christ, especially admist our suffering.

I thought about suffering and love, how we should use love of others and also how we handle our suffering to be a message to others of Christ and His love. The homily focused on how the devil wants us to think God's ways take away or diminish us, but the truth is they do the opposite. The priest asked us to think about where we are being attacked and wage a battle, have a plan. I remember the Holy Spirit was part of the message and also forgiving others. I knew better in the moment, and really should have come right home to write my thoughts so they would have stuck better!

The readings and songs, and also our small faith group this week, made me think of some amazing influences in my life.  There are people that read this blog that I know in real life.  Like R.  A mutual friend brought us together (another light!).  She carries the cross of IF like no one I had ever met before.  In fact, the most beautiful thing she did was ship me all the maternity clothes she had purchased.  She literally let me be the first to wear them, they had been bought here and there when she thought/hoped things would progress more quickly in that area.  She said she got joy knowing they were being used, and I truly believe that because that is just the kind of person she is.  That is saint status if you ask me, and I wore them even though I felt completely unworthy of such a beautiful gift. 

There are others I know in real life that don't read this blog.  Like S.  S is now a Fertility Care practitioner, but I have known her long before this.  She has always been open about her own IF, before I really knew mine even existed.  She has always had an amazing bold faith, unashamed.  She pushes herself to learn, donates her time selflessly.  She does not feel sorry for herself.  She recognized adoption isn't the default Plan B and discerned it wasn't for her and her husband, yet remained open to whatever God had in store for them.  She drew lines about where she didn't want to cross, and when that happened and IF affected her and her marriage, they stopped ttc.  Her love of Christ is evident to anyone who meets her and they can't help but look at her and say "I want what she has!" 

And there are those that I have never met in real life, but read this blog and have profoundly affected me by their example.  Bloggers like Joy Beyond the Cross, Kaitlin from More Like Mary, More Like Me and Alive in Hope are examples that just ooze their beautiful faithfulness and draw others to Christ by their example.  Their joy is evident in everything they do because they are first and foremost daughters of Christ.  AIH said it best when she said to the effect of "everything changed when I found out how much I am loved."  She is constantly drawing others, not to herself, but to Christ through herself.

This list is not at all exhaustive. I am blessed with many beautiful influences in my life. I realize, based on my history, that I tend to just do enough based on the group I am around. It seems the bar is relative or something. Mass and Faith Group this week made me and want to emulate those people in my life that are a light independent of others. I appreciate this, as I know how difficult it is to do!

I think sometimes with suffering it is natural to just want to wait it out.  I definitely have personal experience with this.  You think with time it will pass and then things will be okay again.  But, of course, Christ calls us to love Him and draw others to him even through our suffering.  An example of waiting it out is dh and I right now with our abstinence. We are waiting it out, not learning from it, not letting it make us better people, not using it as it could be to draw closer. We are waiting for it to end, just sort of existing through it.  But the problem with this is suffering (or in this case self control as a sin) is going to continue to crop up, in one form or another, throughout life and it is much better to conquer it then to attempt to wait it out. 

Dh and I are overwhelmed with the various suffering that has surrounded us lately.  The pain of those the waiting to find a husband, or waiting for their husband to return from Ir.aq, the anxiety of those that are newly pregnant, the illness or loss of loved ones, watching your child suffer and not being able to intercede, etc. There is always going to be an opportunity to practice being a light to others admist suffering and I hope to make the most of the suffering opportunities in my life.
The readings etc allowed me to reflect on this, and inspired me to make a conscious effort to try and carry myself in a way where, regardless of the various sufferings and trials are encounter as a part of this life I can remain a light, a beacon of hope, and draw others to Christ, lift High my Cross and proclaim His love!  I know this is a large task, one that I (less consciously) have set out to do before and failed, but one that I see value in pursuing.  Thank you all for your inspiration and support.  I hope I can take just a bit of your light and carry it out to others!

7 comments:

Megan said...

WR, this is a truly beautiful reflection! I am praying for you!

Lauren @ Magnify the Lord with Me said...

AMEN!!!

and what an incredible message from your priest! WOAH! A Catholic priest talking about spiritual warfare and a battle plan??? Be still my heart!!! :)

Awaiting a Child of God:) said...

Wow! and thanks! I loved this reflection. And I love the saying "be a light to others!"
HUGS

Little JoAnn said...

This is the best post in the world. YOU ARE absolutely right. SUFFERING WILL come to every life, every life. I told my husband about your friend who donated those baby clothes to you. NOW SHE is a model of Christian Love. WOW!
Gosh, we really need to be lights as you say in the midst of our suffering. What a great reminder. You need to go to Mass with your mom more often! Goodness, this is the best post I have read all week all month! I'm going back to re-read it AGAIN.

ALIVEINHOPE said...

"...regardless of the various sufferings and trials are encounter as a part of this life I can remain a light, a beacon of hope, and draw others to Christ, lift High my Cross and proclaim His love!"

God blessed me beyond imagining on the day He led me to you! His Light shines through you in a beautiful way and has BECOME a beacon of hope in my life! THANK YOU for this gift!!

May God richly bless you and may He give you an abundance of strength each day to "lift high the Cross" and follow Him!

Leila @ Little Catholic Bubble said...

Absolutely beautiful. Thank you.

Joy Beyond the Cross said...

J - you are a beautiful gift from God and your enthusiasm for helping others shines through in your blogging! Thank you for the gift of your friendship and let us keep walking together on this journey to the Father, a journey that yes is filled with suffering, but also filled with LOTS of JOY!