Saturday of the Thirty-Second Week in Ordinary Time
By JENNIFER BURGIN
Jesus told his disciples a parable about the necessity for them to pray always without becoming weary. He said, “There was a judge in a certain town who neither feared God nor respected any human being. And a widow in that town used to come to him and say, ‘Render a just decision for me against my adversary.’ For a long time the judge was unwilling, but eventually he thought, ‘While it is true that I neither fear God nor respect any human being, because this widow keeps bothering me I shall deliver a just decision for her lest she finally come and strike me.’”
Monday's Nocturnal Distress Peacefully asleep in my bed, I suddenly woke up feeling lightheaded and clammy all over. I recognized the signs of an approaching fainting spell, so I began deep yoga breathing as I removed my bed covers and nightshirt. I reached over for a glass of water, placed on the nightstand, but found it empty. Soon I passed out.....
I found myself lying on the carpet unable to open my eyes or move my hands and legs. Ringing filled my ears. I do not know how long I was unconscious. Maybe only a few minutes or as much as an hour. The inside of my mouth was filled with ulcers. My nose bled non-stop and the right side of my head screamed in pain. I noticed a scrape on my left knee, the result of a carpet burn.
What caused me to faint? How did I fall off the bed like this? Then I remembered the new medication I took earlier in the evening. I succumbed to its serious side effects...
The next day I stayed home from work while I nursed bruises around my eye, nose, and chin. I searched Google for info on the malicious Rx. Turns out the drug dangerously lowers the body's sodium levels which causes lower blood pressure, fainting and a laundry list of other adverse effects. Evidently, the drug company was sued by the FDA five years ago for improperly marketing the drug. The drug company had to pay millions in fines.
When I filled the prescription, the pharmacist seemed to be especially concerned about making sure I was aware of the potential side effects. I blew him off thinking I'd be okay. Boy, I should have heed the warning!
I felt like I came close to death experiencing this nocturnal distress.
Domestic Distress Thank the Lord I did not seriously injure myself from the fainting spell. However, many women and children who are regularly abused are not so fortunate. They live in daily fear not knowing when the next yell, slap, or punch will strike next. Their physical distress is endless. A battered wife may think to herself:
What is wrong with me? Why does he punch when he gets liquored up? Why does he slap me around when he's mad at someone else? I do not know where to go or where to turn to! The make-up may cover up the bruises on the outside but I'm bleeding on the inside --so much pain and hopelessness. Will I ever get away from the violence? What about the safety of my children? Dear God, please help me!
Like the battered wife, the widow in today's gospel reading felt the sting of the adversary's abuse. We are not sure what her problem was. Did a land owner treat her unfairly? Was she being forced into slavery of some sort? Did some how she get cheated out of her property? All we know is that she was fed up with the judge's inaction. She demanded justice, a resolution of some sort. Her hounding and pleading bothered the judge so much that he gave in and granted her request. How come he was so scared that she would strike him? I can't help but think of the judge as a cranky old wimp too unmanly to deal with a strong, resilient woman. The widow had enough of the injustice! She remained persistent and eventually got what she asked for.
Render Justice Remember these words: Pray always without becoming weary! When bad things happen to us, lift them up to the Lord. Seek help when things seem hopeless. Get away from a dangerous situation however difficult it may be. Be resilient and strong when life whips us around in the most unexpected ways. Remember that God does not wish for any of his children to be abused and neglected. Do not give up on justice! Sometimes we think those who hurt us will never get punished. However, God has an amazing way of handling people and situations. We just need to remain faithful and trust in his Holy Will.
"Peace is not the product of terror or fear. Peace is not the silence of cemeteries. Peace is not the silent result of violent repression. Peace is the generous, tranquil contribution of all to the good of all. Peace is dynamism. Peace is generosity. It is right and it is duty."
-Blessed Oscar Romero
This meditation was written by Jennifer Burgin. Please visit her blog: Jennifer's Spectrum of Spirituality