Monday, March 29, 2010

The Final Countdown

Where did Lent go? I am amazed that we have already entered into Holy Week. Every year about this time, I begin to have regrets about how I could have better spent these past 40 days. There was so much I wanted to do, so many things I needed to work on. As usual, it seems I have missed the mark and squandered many opportunities to improve the state of my soul. Could I have spent more time in prayer? Could I have been kinder, more compassionate? Could I have held my tongue and just nodded my head in understanding instead of giving my opinion? Could I have been a better listener, attended Mass more frequently, and so on. Of course, the answer is “Yes”. I lament as I wonder how I let this precious time get away from me. But God, in His infinite mercy, reminds me that I have one week left to do those things that I longed to do to draw closer to Him.

I am reminded of the laborers who came into the field at the last hour and received a full day’s wage. When you’ve worked all day it seems unfair that those who come at the end of the day should get the same pay. But when you are the one who comes late, you are so grateful to be paid the full wage. What a merciful God we have!

It is late, but Lord, I come. I long to labor these final hours. I need your grace to guide me through this holy Week so that I can stay awake with You, walk the Via Dolorosa with You and sit beneath the Cross alongside Your holy Mother. May my heart rejoice with all those who have worked hard this Lent in drawing closer to You. Thank You for Your merciful love which assures me that I will reap the blessings of Easter.

Saturday, March 27, 2010

It seems only fitting that I should begin this series of reflections, meditations, and prayers as we enter into Holy Week. For it was many years ago on Good Friday that I made a decision to put God in control of my life. Prior to that, I had been only half-heartedly seeking the Lord, and I wasn’t really sure how to make progress on a spiritual journey.

I was mid-way through my second pregnancy when I developed a condition that was potentially deadly for the child I was carrying. The fear of losing this baby, whom I had already grown to love, was nearly paralyzing and I could do nothing but place my situation into the Hands of God. I remember that I made that prayer of surrender with a most sincere heart. The months that followed were life-changing. Doctor directives were to have total bed rest. The problem with that, however, was that I had a very lively two year old son and I was in a new city with no friends or family to help me. My husband had a brand new job and I wondered how we would get through the five remaining months of the pregnancy. But God heard my cry for help and he sent “angels” to assist us. Women from the church I hadn’t yet had a chance to attend, came to help with housecleaning, cooking, and caring for our young son. They brought spiritual books and many words of encouragement. I read scripture for the first time in years and found the passages amazing, as if I had never heard them before.

One day a woman called and asked if she could come and pray over me. I didn’t really understand what that meant at the time, but I knew it was something good. Connie came and it felt like we had been old friends. She was funny and we had much in common. I felt so comfortable in her presence. Then she prayed from the Gospel of Mark, chapter 5, the passage about the woman with the hemorrhage who touched the hem of Jesus’ garment and was healed. The words became very personal, as if written for me. I was the woman with the hemorrhage, and Jesus was next to me. And then, as Connie prayed, I felt the baby move. That was not unusual, of course, but it felt different.

That night I was healed, although at the time I didn’t know it. All I knew was that the hemorrhaging had ceased. Two weeks later, I called my doctor, and after examining me, he said I could get out of bed and resume normal activity. When I told him what happened with the prayer, he said I had had a physical healing. I delivered a healthy baby boy right on his due date.

Since that amazing experience, I have witnessed many personal healings within my own family and with many others. Sometimes they seem like everyday occurrences. I believe that God longs to touch His people and heal them. The Scriptures are filled with the loving touch of Christ curing the many ailments and diseases of the people. He is the same yesterday, today and forever so His word is relevant for us right now.

We all are wounded in some way, either physically or emotionally or spiritually. God is longing to make us whole. We just need to place ourselves into His loving Hands and surrender our personal situation. Let Him have control. Trust that He knows what is best for your life.

May you receive His love, joy, peace and healing during this Holy Week. God bless you!