In a blink of an eye, Lent is almost over. This evening, we enter into the Easter Triduum when we celebrate the Mass of the Lord’s Supper.
This year’s Lent has been particularly meaningful for me because I have spent practically every minute of it in service. I do not try to claim credit for this, because I doubt I can be that noble. Only my Master can be so perfect a planner that He makes my waking hours so packed, nary an idle minute goes by. And only my Boss can give me the gift that every minute of work is fruitful for others and for me. I praise and thank Him for it!
During this Lent, I have come face to face with suffering and seen more evil than I have ever seen in my life. Because of all the new brothers and sisters entering my life, I have seen all kinds of brokenness. A 19 year old girl who had been abandoned from birth, who has had to fend for herself, gone through one human tragedy after another and who has been abused and abandoned by her adoptive mother. A 27 year old woman who has been working since she finished Sec 4 and who has had to stop working because of epileptic fits, and who thirsts for God’s healing with such intensity. A young working couple in love with God and with each other, whose organization is bent so much on breaking them up that their mentors have manipulated even their parents into objecting to their relationship. So many unethical means has been used already, and it seems the battle is only intensifying. Then there is a lonely young man who carries a gaping wound in his heart and soul because, when he was even younger, he had entered into an adulterous affair with a much older female relative and had later been betrayed by her. He is so empty of love and affirmation, he is in desolation and despair.
When I meet these brothers and sisters, my heart really breaks to hear their stories. These are people whose friends and colleagues, even families, have no idea of their suffering. For many of them, those closest to them are blind to their suffering because they themselves are blinded by their own wounds. And there is nothing Henry and I can do for them when they come to us, except to offer them our love and spiritual friendship. Henry and I have been spending a lot of time in prayer these past few weeks, especially in prayer with and for others.
At times the human in me begins to feel daunted. I start feeling like I want to retreat and run away from the pain that God is showing me. But then I think of Jesus – of the great love He had for me that He would willingly be betrayed, scourged, mocked and crucified – for my sins and the sins of all the world. I feel Him look at me with a gaze full of love. I hear His gentle invitation, “Ann, won’t you just try to bear a little of this, for me? So many of my people are suffering… won’t you be my hands and feet and just love them with me and for me? I will give you all the love you need…”
Then I remember that I have no reason to feel daunted, unless I am starting to rely on my own strength and wisdom again. All God asks of me is to be available to be used by Him. Even so, because I am so imperfect, it is very difficult at times. But through my struggle to love, God is helping me to get rid of ego, pride and stubbornness. These three traits are a cause of great suffering for me, so I praise God for the trials He sends me so that I may learn to be humble and obedient, not only to Him, but also to the people in my life.
Jesus Christ is the Light of the World, and He came to dispel all darkness. In this most holy of weeks, as we approach the most holy of days, my heart is filled with thanksgiving. I pray that meditating upon Christ’s Passion and Death will help me to confront Sin in my own life, and that I will spare myself nothing but lay my heart bare to Him.
Lord, I am unworthy. But please allow me to accompany you on your way to the cross. Even so, though my spirit is willing, my flesh is weak. Please give me the grace I need to carry my cross beside you, and to share in your compassionate suffering for all your people. Amen.