Thursday, December 20, 2007

Understanding


Last night, I stumbled on the words of a Christian who had lost a child. She had trouble making sense of the "why me". This was a solid "good works mean nothing" Christian that felt the loss of her child was nothing short of satanic. Reading these words, having lost two children before I even had the gift of meeting them, I could have agreed with her story, but I just couldn't. While going through such an event not once, but twice was painful, I can't say the whole thing was satanic. I believe very much in spiritual warfare, more than many people(both lay and religious) I know. At moments of vulnerability and sadness, I have been haunted by "dark nights" and worse. There's so much more there. Something I can never take for granted.
My Catholic faith has answered so many of life's "why's" at crucial moments in my life. I understand the value and the purpose of suffering not because I am special, but because God has revealed this to me, in His own way. I once had a priest tell me "who do you think you are that you do not have to suffer?" Not in a mean way, but in a half joking manner that made me realize where he was going with this. I could never be close to Christ without suffering. I could never be part of the battle without my wounds, my stripes. Being Catholic is not being an observer but getting in the trenches and sticking your neck out for the truth. I have been called, at times, to bear witness to the truth both inside and outside the Church. Early in my "reversion" I prayed many times a day for the truth and honestly, sometimes I wished I had been less aggressive in that quest. I know things a simple layperson normally wouldn't know(or care about for that matter). But when you pray for truth, it comes.
It started on a pilgrimage to Medjugorje when I felt something "wasn't quite right". I prayed for discernment and the truth at the top of Mt. Krizevac. This was in the early 90's and different from the way things are now. But I know truth didn't lie there. Years later, looking back at the people I met and my journey, it makes more sense now. Our stays in Rome on the way over and back had so much more meaning and truth and God needed to show me that. I didn't want to leave Italy. I felt awe and comfort and it was something that linked me to the millions of simple lay people who have traveled there through history. It was short but life-changing.

I've went on another "blog tangent" but suffering, in my life, has lead me to the truth. I have been blessed to know some very special and holy priests who have changed my life. One such man, now deceased, was Msgr. Henry Klocker(Cincinnati) who was one of the wisest and holiest priests I have ever known. He represented Holy Mother Church in ways that even as a young 20-something, stuck with me for life. He understood fasting, suffering and said some of the most profound things that I still remember to this day. But he did it with humor, kindness and a sense of other-worldliness. I have had other spiritual influences and can thank many priests for what I have learned. Some of them have no idea how the words in a homily, the smile in passing or the fact that they can, without fear, wear their collar at every moment in their lives have had a great impact on me. They represent the Church. They are always a priest because they have been sent. I sometimes wish I could tell them what they have done for me and how their example has shaped me. On a rare occasion, I have told a few. I guess, in the end, I know truth and suffering, in the universal sense by what I have witnessed in the holy priests I have known. Msgr. Klocker was the first of such priests. I pray God rewards these men richly for their wounds and stripes. They have given so much to Christ's Church here on earth. I also pray that other Christians may one day know the meaning of suffering and come to understand the fullness of the truth found in the Catholic Church. There is much to be gained in loss and suffering. Sometimes I don't see it until I retrospectively look at my own timeline. When I am in the midst of pain, it is hard to see why pain exists. Enough of my blog tangent, I need to do something with the family. These words were simply musings over morning coffee.
(image from Sad Kitty)

3 comments:

cordelia said...

wow, thanks, that was beautiful...i had the same feeling in Rome...i tell friends that when i walked into St. Peter's i wanted to lay on the floor and die...weird i know, but that was the only way i could describe the feeling of being "home"a glimpse of heaven perhaps.

gemoftheocean said...

What a nice tribute to Msgr. Klocker, and what wise words from you.

Suffering does unite us more closely to Christ. To make any "meaning" out of it, it's best to offer up our sufferings and unite them with Christ.

Karen

Lisa said...

So very true. It's so sad for me to see those who are suffering and have not gleaned the wisdom of the Church to bear it and grow from it. We've born four miscarriages and one stillbirth and we're grateful for what we've learned by carrying our small portion of His cross. It's so good to read of your understanding! Blessings this Christmas!