|Memorial - St. Scholastica
Psalm 104:1-2, 5-6, 10, 12, 24, 35
Today’s gospel is an easy one for me to take to prayer and use the Ignatian spiritual exercise of imagining the scene and myself in it.
This has been a particularly busy time at work and the challenge of offering my children a ‘non-anxious presence’ at home has been difficult. The movement toward war by our nation’s leadership and the distressing state of economic affairs at the state and city levels has affected my mood and outlook.
I am usually a person of great hope, but I feel my faith being tested.
Who am I putting my faith in? Who is redeeming the world here? I am reminded of my need for God.
In my busy-ness and preoccupation with work and with the world’s troubles it is hard to love, to be creative, to take time for imagination and play and to really let go in prayer.
This is how I found today’s gospel helpful. I let myself feel the desire to be there on the other side of the sea with the people that recognize Jesus. It is good to leave all I am busy about to go and bring my sick and lay my beloved before him on mats: my husband and children, my mother-in-law stricken and declining suddenly with Alzheimer’s, my brilliant young student employee greatly inhibited in her plans for post-grad service by crippling arthritis, our need for careful and consultative long-range planning at work, our nation rushing into pre-emptive war against Iraq, our state, our city, our schools…
In my imagination, I struggle to get to Jesus, with the many others of the towns and countryside who have scurried to bring him their sick also. I can’t carry my sick alone. I go back and get John and the kids. They aren’t so willing at first, but they come. We make it together and gather with these others of humble faith.
There is a lot of noise and it is getting crowded in the simple building that reminds me of the youth room in Guarjila, El Salvador. We beg you to be able to touch even your cloak. And you do not push back, you do not turn away. You look toward all of us with great love. You ask us to make a bit of walking room so you can meet briefly with each of our small groups. When you get to our family you take the kids one at a time and talk to them with your arm around them. Our oldest son, Philip, appears there with us. My heart is bursting with more joy and gratefulness than I have felt in a very long time. You talk with each of us. I watch and listen and pray. After blessing each of us, you gather us as a family. Your arms and cloak embrace us in great healing and saving love. We all thank you and turn to sit back down, holding on tightly to each other as you move on.
In addition to the great consolation of this time in prayer, imagining myself there in the scene of the gospel, I also use this as an opportunity to invite the family to gather for a few minutes.
Let us take time to touch the tassel of Jesus’ cloak and be renewed
and strengthened to be his healing force in our world.
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