Tuesday greetings from the home office here in Franklin Park, Illinois.
I have three sisters, two living and one deceased. Each was diagnosed with a different auto-immune disease while in the prime of life and each has lived with these diseases for decades. My youngest sister died from complications brought on by a very aggressive form of multiple sclerosis; she was in her late 30's. My remaining sisters are struggling so much now.
I bring them up today because, as a Catholic, I believe that the Lord is closer to these two women now than he has ever been in their lives. I believe this right down to the core of my being. During one of my last visits with my younger sister before her death, I remember telling her that when I was with her, I felt closer to the Lord Jesus more than any other time or moment in my life.
I guess I am just feeling the paradox of the cross right now quite acutely. You see, while I know that the Lord is present in times of sickness, there is that lingering question: "If you are present, why can't you do more by way of healing?" Do you ever find yourself lost in this paradox?
I remember a time back in the mid-1980's when I was struggling to find the answers to where God might be calling me, I spent hours in a chapel just staring at the large crucifix in the sanctuary. I didn't say much in my prayer; I just gazed on the cross and sought direction. The irony, of course, is that I was staring at the answer to my question.
I understand the theological concept that what we do at Sunday Mass gives us a foretaste of the heavenly kingdom, where every tear will be wiped away. In my own life right now, I guess I am looking for more tears to be wiped away here on earth.
Yesterday's senseless mass shootings in Washington brought me once more face-to-face with the cross. People kissed their spouses good-bye yesterday morning for the last time; they simply went to work at their jobs and were killed. My heart reaches out to those surviving spouses and family members. My own pain pales in comparison to what those loved ones are going through right now.
Not to worry about me; just a time of faith-testing right now. I am comforted by the words of Saint Peter, however: "Lord, to whom shall we go. You alone have the words of eternal life."
Gotta sing. Gotta pray.