Daily Reflection
July 25th, 2001
Joan Howard
University College
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Feast of St. James, apostle 
Second Corinthians 4:7-15
Psalms 126:1-2, 2-3, 4-5, 6
Matthew 20:20-28

“We possess a treasure in earthen vessels to make it clear that its surpassing power comes from God and not from us.  We are afflicted in every was possible, but we are not crushed…Continually we carry about in our bodies the dying of Jesus, so that in our bodies the life of Jesus may also be revealed.”

The beauty and significance of these words, this thought, this truth was made clearer to me just recently.  I was visiting our local Hospice House.  I don’t know anyone there, yet I know several patients intimately.  One of them has never spoken a word to me.  I am not sure if she even knows my name.  I will call her Anna.  Anna is a beautiful, petite, elderly black lady.  She never speaks, but she often smiles and occasionally softly giggles.  She does not share her thoughts or the secrets of her mind or her fondest or saddest memories.  She is not able to get out of bed without assistance.  She spends most of her days and nights sleeping.  She is a very fragile earthen vessel.  She carries inside her frail body disease and death.  Yet, she is not crushed – she is beautiful and strong.  It is as if Jesus is sharing his pain and death with her.  She is dying, yet she lives and the Spirit lives within her.  There are times when her daughters or granddaughters in their sorrow and pain crawl up into bed beside her.  Curled together, Anna reaches over and caresses her children.  It is the spirit within her that reaches out and comforts the “healthy, strong” ones.  On the deepest and most intimate level the Spirit is alive in Anna, Jesus is revealed. 
To be in Anna’s presence is to experience the presence of Jesus.  It is as if he has entrusted his suffering and death to her.  She in her frail state of disease and the process of death continues to reveal the loving gentle presence of Jesus to those around her.  I am the one who feels fragile and vulnerable.  Through Anna the Spirit has blessed me with peace.  To be with Anna is to appreciate how vulnerable I am and how powerful the Spirit is.

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