As I walked out of the emergency room, I was going over and over again in my mind every word that was said by her. It didn’t make any sense. This young and single mother’s life would be so much less complicated without her daughter. Her expendable income would increase significantly. Her chores and obligations would be cut in…half. She would be able to live just for herself. Her evenings would be free. Her weekends would be fun. Now the Lord was giving her all she wanted. He had provided her the perfect excuse to get back on track; to finish College and to get on with her career. He would take her daughter and she would be free.
Of course, I never mentioned any of these horrible thoughts of mine to her. This logical exercise was for me. I was trying to understand her thoughts, the world’s “thinking” and the paradox of life. Regardless of what the so-called experts in “planning” think or say, life doesn’t work that way. We don’t work that way. Only distant people can think like that. Only horrible people can act that way.
Well, I am pleased to say that this young mom fought for her daughter. She stormed heaven and earth with prayers and promises. A week later, her prayers were answered and she has kept all her promises. She received a special grace and will not doubt again. Today, she considers herself the luckiest woman alive. Why? Because she was brought to her knees and was forced to wake up and smell the stench of her weaknesses. She had been dragged to stand before God and she felt her tininess. She was locked in a tiny room, the room of her tiny thoughts, and wept at the most horrible and gruesome of thoughts. She came face to face with her arrogance and vanity. She could now call them by their proper name: sin. Alas, she closed her eyes as if dead and awoke to the warmth of the risen Son.
What to do on Holy Saturday. What should be my sentiments on this day? What should I be thinking about today? I think we should be forcing ourselves to experience what the Apostles experienced: loneliness and loss; that is, the loss of a loved one and the loneliness of selfishness. I think we should be thinking what the Apostles kept thinking; that is, the constant reliving of their mistakes, mishandlings, and other pathetic little thoughts and actions that were far too big for them and far too little for Jesus. We should re-enact their lives in that locked upper room and detect the stench of fear that filled it, the blame that enflamed it, and the doubts that engulfed it! By doing so, I think we will come up with the same conclusion that they came up with: We need you Lord, more than ever! Only you can save us! Only you can love us!
I think today is the best day to do some exercise and get some good solid cleaning and sweeping done. Let’s work out all those thoughts that keep popping into our brains. You know which ones I am referring to…the “why me...” the “why now…” and the “what if’s…”
I am not asking that you fill this day with sentimentalism. I am asking that you fill this day with gratitude and love. No matter what you are doing, you can do this. In fact, it would be better if you do this while you are busy at work. For example, while you are in the kitchen preparing for tomorrow’s feast, think of what life would be like if you had nothing to prepare…because there was no one to prepare it for. Or while you are cleaning your house and fixing the game room, think of what life would be like if there were no toys because there were no children. Would it be easy or would you be fibbing? Rachael wept because her children were no more.
Think of it like this: love manifests itself best through sacrifice. If there were no meal to prepare, no mess to clean, no bill to pay, then there would be no love to give. Sacrifice is an essential ingredient that invigorates the heart to love. If I do not know how to sacrifice for someone, then I do not know how to love anyone! This is what selfish people tell me. This is what my selfish heart does to me.
We need you Lord, more than ever! Only you can save us! Only you can love us!