Saturday, July 30, 2011

Because I Am Going To the Father.....

It had been a very hard day, amidst a very hard month that blurred from a very, very difficult year and the year had not been so different from the decade. It was a rough time on many levels and my life was a daily struggle.

Kneeling that evening in the dark, on a warm wood floor in Texas, my prayer was aloud--there was no human there to hear it, as my husband had always preferred a nocturnal career and at the moment was a traveling salesman gone five or six days a week. 
So I was alone.  Alone.... I was always alone .. and excruciatingly lonely. I looked across the bed from on my knees. Oh, what I wouldn’t have given to have his big, hot, snoring, covered body to crawl in bed with instead of facing another endless silent night, struggling to sleep so that I could have the energy to be a good mother and father to my three little ones. 
Crying and pleading with the Lord, I asked for strength to get through this dark depression.
For years, one of my prayers had been that God would send an angel to me, to salve my loneliness, fears, confusion and unhappiness. I couldn’t understand why He didn’t send me a little miracle so that I could have the heart to face another day. Not for myself but for my children.

And in general, my prayers had collapsed from a full-scale heavenly rescue, complete with winning lottery ticket, limo, helicopter, distant exotic island, fully staffed mansion and catered meals to a whimpering ...”just a hug”. GOD!! JUST A HUG! I could survive life if God would just give me a hug.

That night, I had slumped to the floor, feeling the agony of rejection from my husband and God, when I heard a voice. Looking back it might have been audible. Honestly, I don’t know but there it was.

“Teresa, I have given Arthur’s arms to hold you.” 

The shock of those words made me writhe in additional disappointment as my absent husband (when actually home) was distant, secretive with dark, dismal moods. HIM? Lord, you cannot be serious, he’s the reason I need the hug!

For years I had sought help for my tanking life from pastors, friends, family members and Christian counselors. Their ubiquitous answer was diametrically opposed to what I just heard. They all told me to pray, to seek solace from God. They were so busy pointing to the heavens that it never occurred to them that they could give me a hug.
Christians were handing God the problem and God was handing it back.

Those are very distant years and since becoming Catholic I finally understand what God meant that night. 
When God said that the church was His Body on earth, He wasn’t meaning it allegorically.

From the beginning we have been asking, “Am I my brother’s keeper?” and since the beginning God has been telling us... YES! He told us in the story of the good samaritan and the separation of the sheep and goats and all His parables of the Kingdom of Heaven. WE ARE HIS BODY! 
When someone asks God for a miracle, we are supposed to be that miracle. As Catholics who receive the Body, Blood, Soul and Divinity of our Lord, when God is needed we are to be there as Him. We are to sacrifice and listen, share and share again, for to the world we act as God on earth.

Not just as individuals for that would be too great a responsibility. But as a church, we are to be personally responsible for each and every person out there who is lonely, confused, sick with sin. We are His Body and that is an awesome and awe-filled privilege.

When Catholics see someone in need, they do not send them to God, wash their hands of the problem and walk merrily by (or at least they are not supposed to). When Catholics see a problem, they know, as the Body of Christ, they should and they MUST become personally involved. For God’s primary way of changing the world is through us, His Church. God has given us the grace to do miracles in His name, not with a magic wand, but with sacrifice and sometimes painful self-giving of our time, energy and sweat.

We are not to run from the messiness of life. Indeed God gives us a mop and commands us to go to it. He then infuses us with the grace to do it in His name.

Of course God regularly uses the supernatural, but if you look at the history of His people, His preference is to allow US, His Body, to become like Him, doing His works. And isn’t that just what He promised us, “I tell you the truth, anyone who has faith in me will do what I have been doing. He will do even greater things than these, because I am going to the Father.” John 14: 12

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