This season is not always about joy for some folks. Today I was at my church and after mass the woman who sets up for the funerals stopped by and told me that a couple had delivered a stillborn child. All those months of waiting and their baby did not arrive alive. I remember a December years ago when friends also were waiting for a son who they knew would not survive but a few breaths. For 18 years, I co-facilitated an evening for those who were grieving during the holiday season. I watched family and friends weep as they placed angel cards on a tree. I welcomed some of them back year after year. It was a privilege and an honour to accompany people for so many years. Even good things must come to an end. When we began the ministry, few other Catholic churches were undertaking such a service. Now there are plenty of churches and organizations that assist in this area.
I spent a quiet afternoon at home, napping and resting, trying to recover from this viral infection. I had been to the doctor in the morning and they drew more blood, still puzzled by the symptoms. I stopped in at my church and went to mass. One of the priests there had suggested I come for the sacrament of the sick and he was glad to accommodate me today. As we talked, he suggested that we pray for all the suffering people in the world today. I truly believe in the power of the sacraments and given the world events that have unfolded these past few days in Australia and Pakistan especially, this seemed like a marvelous idea to me.
I sense a deep joy and a solid faith in this man. He has a profound love for the Eucharist that pours out from the altar and spills into the congregation in powerful ways. When he touched my right hand with the oil, he drew a cross on my palm. Then he moved to the left hand and as he carved that cross upon the other palm, I could feel a searing heat penetrate. I knew healing was happening. I had been feeling a little more than frustrated about having no energy. Already tonight I sense a healing in that area. I am grateful for the opportunity to have joined in prayer for those who suffer in this joyous season. Sometimes there is Joy in the darkness that one cannot explain. Peace surpasses all understanding some days. Joy grabs hold of the heart for reasons only God knows.
Will you pray today for someone who is struggling during this holly jolly time?