Some have it rougher than others. Trish had three children, Melissa, Michael and Brian. In 1983, her husband Michael John committed suicide. “He was the love of my life, I never remarried… As an RN with three young children and no partner, those important years were overwhelming and often very lonely.”
Melissa was a very beautiful girl “drop-dead gorgeous blond with hazel green eyes”. Her teen years were a real roller coaster. Later on they found out she was bipolar. She fell in love with Phil, and became pregnant with Joseph. Then she moved out of the house. Quickly, she became pregnant again with another son, Chris.
There was no way these two young parents could survive. In fact they split up. Melissa started living a vagabond existence, dragging the babies around. “I can still see the night she left my house with them, walking away and saying, ‘you’ll never see them again’.”
The State took her children and put them in a foster home. Again tragedy struck. The husband of the foster mother accidentally shot himself in the garage.
Then the catastrophe. When at work, Trish was called to the Human Resources office. The police were there. They informed her that “my little girl was dead. Found hanging in the stairwell of her apartment from a coat rail with a bathrobe belt around her neck.”
But it was not yet over for this young mother. Just fourteen months later, her younger son Brian was killed instantly in a car crash. It was a foggy night on a rural road near home. His last were “But, mom, it was an accident!” He was a risk-taker and didn’t calculate consequences. He was 16.
Now Trish, the mother, and her son Michael, is what is left of this family of five…
Yes, Jesus can be very difficult to understand. Many times in the Gospels, we find the disciples grappling to comprehend what Jesus is saying or why he is acting in such a way. They are bewildered.
At one point, the evangelist even tells us that many turned their back on Jesus and no longer wanted to be with him. Apparently, he was not troubled, “Do you want to go also?” he asked the twelve.
I do not pretend to have an answer. Jesus himself says, that “no one can come to me unless it is granted by the Father.” Faith is a gift.…
And yet… A couple of months ago I was corresponding with this friend of mine who just could not stomach her husband any more and she was adamant that her happiness lies in leaving him.
“What can I really say?” I wrote back. “I can understand the pain and the anger and the helplessness of the situation. I can empathize with you and I can understand also that the only solution that presents itself is “what’s the heck? … Let’s get out of this hell and start living! Why should I endure this torture any more? I have been created for happiness and this is sheer torment.”
“Yes, God, God, God… but, really, what’s the use?! You, Father Pius will abide by the standard conventional thinking and will urge me to have patience and stay put… How I wish I can disappear, or he disappears. How I wish that my children are a little bit older so that I can leave.”
“What can I tell you?” I continued. “I am not married. I am not living with your husband. Talk is cheap…”
“But perhaps, I can say something. What if God is not so stupid and He planned your marriage flawlessly? What if God is not insensitive to your suffering? What if this marriage is not a curse but -may I say it? – a gift. What if God is making a mature woman of you through this suffering?”
“In the neo-catechumenal way, my catechists taught me that the cross only appears in our life because we need it. It deflates our pompous ego. It puts us in our true dimension. It forces us to raise our eyes to Him.”
“I know this is true because the cross did tremendous good to me personally…”
Yes, in life there is more than what our tiny, minute brain can understand. We need to pass from a God we created to a God who created us…
In August, Pope Benedict said something that really touched me. He was making a commentary on the Book of Revelations and he noted how the Lamb, even when slain, instead of lying fallen on the ground remains paradoxically standing firmly on his feet. With the resurrection, the Pope explains, he has vanquished death definitively.
“In this way, the visionary wishes to tell us: Have confidence in Jesus, do not be afraid of opposing powers, of persecution! The wounded and dead Lamb conquers! Follow Jesus, the Lamb, trust Jesus, follow his way! Even if in this world he seems to be the weak Lamb, he is the victor!”
We cannot let our weaknesses or sufferings make us run from God. On the contrary, let us dash to Him. Jesus Christ is the one who can truly meet our needs because He’s ‘been there, dealt with that’.
Some things will never make sense. But let us say it more strongly neither does God’s love make sense!
(c) Fr. Pius Sammut, OCD. Permission is hereby granted for any non-commercial use, provided that the content is unaltered from its original state, if this copyright notice is included.