November 14, 2022
by Nancy Shirley
Creighton University's College of Nursing - retired
click here for photo and information about the writer

Monday of the Thirty-third Week in Ordinary Time
Lectionary: 497

Revelation 1:1-4; 2:1-5
Psalm 1:1-2, 3, 4 and 6
Luke 18:35-43

Praying Ordinary Time

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I love the story of the gospel and the man whose faith was so strong.  Faith is basic to everything we do.  For me (and I believe the readers), my faith is related to a loving Father and a Son who demonstrated the ultimate sign of love in sacrificing for us.  It seems to me that one cannot live without faith in something.  How do you get up in the morning and put one foot in front of the other? How do you bother to go to work, to do anything, if you have no faith?  I am certainly aware that not everyone will have faith in the same way or practice that faith in a similar manner.  

Have sight; your faith has saved you
He immediately received his sight
and followed him, giving glory to God.
When they saw this, all the people gave praise to God.

As I read and re-read the above passage, I pondered on “the sight” that this man would now have.  I know that the reference is to his physical blindness, but I thought of the sight that I gain when I rely on my faith as my lens of the world.  The more I thought about this aspect, the more I thought about Viktor Frankl and his book, Man’s Search for Meaning. As I recall, it was on the list I received prior to starting my freshman year of college – a list of books that was recommended as “prerequisite” for incoming freshmen.  Always the compliant, obedient student, I read many of them that summer including Frankl’s.  Obviously, my lens of the world was very different in 1967 from what it is now. However, I do remember even then of being struck by the idea that faith can, indeed, prevail in all circumstances.  I was moved then and still now by the ability of some to survive such circumstances not just physically but mentally and emotionally. The lesson of faith – realizing that our meaning is beyond our current circumstances, our current life – that our meaning (for me based on the faith and belief in a loving Father) is something that transcends this seemingly finite life.  Our meaning is based on relationships especially that with my Father and how I reflect that relationship in this world – how do I give praise to God. Hopefully, it is reflected in my life and evident to others that I am a blessed Child of God.

I found a poignant quote from Frankl that sums up nicely how to see beyond the circumstances of our lives:

"We who lived in concentration camps can remember the men who walked through the huts comforting others, giving away their last piece of bread. They may have been few in number, but they offer sufficient proof that everything can be taken from a man (person) but one thing: the last of the human freedoms — to choose one’s attitude in any given set of circumstances, to choose one’s own way."

I often write about how the reflection assignment and the specific reading(s) are just what I needed at the time.  This one lead me in a way I hadn’t expected.  In re-reading some of Frankl, I ran across a story he shared about an elderly man depressed and still broken heartened after the loss of his wife two years earlier.  Frankl with his profound insight, asked the man what it would be if he preceded his wife in death.  The man spoke of the suffering it would have been for her and Frankl was able to have the grieving man consider the suffering that he has protected his wife from experiencing.  The significance for me is that it is two years this week that my mother-in-law died and as we visited with my father-in-law a few days ago, his pain was still very evident.  This reflection led me to find a story that I can share with him that will perhaps provide him some comfort.  A coincidence to have this assignment and be led to Frankl again – I think not!  Another God wink for me!!

What Faith Can Do   by Kutless

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