Thursday, after a tough meeting, I had come home tired, a little hurt, more than a little angry, but nowhere as bad as it used to be – not because the work situation has improved; but because I sense something else in control within me. So, when I asked God, Why, why, why? Why is this necessary?, I did not really ask to know the answer, and I did not ask in the anguish of old. I asked in the slow weariness that comes at the end of a long day where the winds have restlessly stirred leaves, only to retreat to hidden depths, sullen and unwilling to speak.
The answer didn’t matter as much as the will to endure if the road ahead was long, the bend He had spoken of, yet to be.
Later, opening my heart to one of my children, I heard myself saying,
Often we must suffer in order to know joy;
often too we must suffer so that joy comes to others.
It was as if something from inside me was speaking through me, reminding me of the Cross, reminding me of why the Body must be broken and piercings endured, why Blood must be shed.
Answering my own question of Why?
As I spoke, I knew the bite of tears in my throat, the glisten of those same tears in the eyes of my child, as we both fell to remembering the breaking and piercing we have endured as a family, what we have suffered and lost forever.
A short while later, an old memory was stirred. A memory of my children being a hair’s breadth away from danger, the chilling memory of how close abuse had brought me to the edge of the cliff.
Broken and pierced beyond belief.
But by a miracle, my family and I were saved by St. John of the Cross. He had rushed to pull me back from the brink, holding me till I heard and obeyed his urgent bidding,
Now, years later, as I sat and recalled that miracle, I began to sense something else. I felt the strains of a hymn nudge my ears.
Lift up your hearts
Lift up your voice
again I say, Rejoice!
A Christmas hymn. A Christmas hymn in the middle of June. I looked curiously at the word, Rejoice! What did it mean? I couldn’t just jump up and pretend a jubilance. So, what did Rejoice! mean, coming as it did now?
Two days later, we happily welcomed to our home two friends – one a beloved priest. It meant a lot to me to have Father with us on the weekend of the feast of the Body and Blood of Christ. Twelve years ago, I had deliberately gone past church on that very feast day. On that day, we had arrived way too late and it seemed silly to make a spectacle of ourselves and go to a Mass that was almost ending. So, we drove on.
We drove on into the biggest sorrow of our lives.
For the next twelve years, haunted by what I had done, I made reparation, over and over, for piercing the Heart of my Jesus that day.
Suddenly, now, here was Father, this particular priest, the one we ran to twelve years ago when the light began to go out, sitting and having lunch with us! I was so happy!
We sat and laughed and chatted about so many things. It was beautiful, so beautiful being blessed by the presence of Jesus within this joyful and loving priest. I have always been a Martha, fussing over things that didn’t need fussing over. But not this day. This time, I was Mary, sitting by Jesus’ feet, listening to Him.
And then he uttered the word, Promise. He said it three times.
My mind went to the verse in Jeremiah.
The days are coming, says the LORD,
when I will fulfill the promise ~ Jeremiah 33: 14
To the stunning June rainbow. To the painting of The Fool and His Gold. The steady stream of signs. We must endure the piercing, I had told my child. Our Friday of 10s.
I sense someone is waiting before me, waiting for something from me.
I shrink back. I am afraid of more suffering. I don’t want any more of it. But I know that’s not the way to go. If I want to be a part of what is to come, I must endure the piercings too.
What do You ask of me, Lord? I ask timorously.
And then I dive. Pierce me, Lord.
The winds pick up suddenly. The change is instant. From gentle sun~warmed breaths threaded through clouds and tree tops, the winds jump in jubilance and exultation. Through the trees and leaves, the winds rush as if to spread the news. The robin’s song pierces through the gold of Corpus Christ morn.
As this excitement reaches for the highest ever notes, a soft breath writes upon my heart,
Something is about to end.