For I am the Lord your God who takes hold of your right hand and says to you, do not fear, I will help you. Isaiah41:13
Blessed are the people who know the joyful sound! Lord, they walk in the light of your face. Psalm 89:15
We are called to practice dying to self. This is what we strive for during the Lenten season. This week I will reflect on the above scriptures and the following reflection for today, I read in “Jesus calling.” “This is a time to learn to let go of loved ones, of possessions, of control. To let go of something that is precious to you, you need to rest in my presence, where you are complete. Take time to bask in the light of my love. As you relax, your grasping hand gradually opens, releasing your prized possession into my care. You can feel secure, even amid cataclysmic changes, through awareness of my continual presence. The one who never leaves you, is the one who never changes. I will never let go of your hand. Herein lies your security, which no one and no circumstance can take from you.”
This week I really felt I was in the desert. Losing my mom in February and then finding out yesterday that my Dad’s scan revealed nodules on his lung. Evidently, he had them since his last lung scan in August of 2020. This came as a total shock to me as I was told his scan was clear of any cancer. My parents never told me. I am quite sure it was because they did not want me to worry. Also, I know my dad did not want to have a biopsy to clarify if it was cancer or scar tissue. Nor would he elect to have any treatment even if it was cancer. I understand my dad’s position, but I still felt angry and betrayed at the same time. I wanted to ask my mom why she lied to me and did not tell me, but I could not. She is not here. I went into my room and cried. I was missing my mom and now I might be losing my dad. What was I going to do?
I began to pray, and was led to the following Psalm 102:2-3 Oh Lord, hear my prayer and let my cry come to you. Hide not your face from me. In the day of my distress, Incline your ear to me.
Just as Jesus thirsted for his father, I thirsted for Him. He heard my cry. Jesus showed me that I was trying to control the situation. I needed to let go of that which is precious to me, my Dad, and rest in His presence. I could not change that my dad had these nodules, or what was to happen to him in the future. I had to release my prized possession to Jesus. As I did this, He gave me His peace, letting me know that He is with me and will always be there for me. He is my security, my rock, and my refuge! I am complete in Him. I know the Lord even had a few of my friends reinforce this peace by telling me, “If the nodules were there since last August and haven’t grown, then that is a good sign.” This gave me comfort. I began to be filled with a sense of gratitude, rather than anger or anxiety. I also had a confidence in the fact that I was able to give those motions to Jesus, knowing that He will never let go of my hand. I could rest in His peace.
My suffering allowed me to think of Jesus’ suffering; what he had to endure for me, for us, so that we could be free! My suffering brought me closer to Jesus. It is nothing in comparison to what he endured. It reminded me of the gift of life, giving glory to God. Living each day with Him, so we could be a witness of the blessings He gives us, by trusting Him and opening ourselves up to receive His grace.
The saint for today is St. Rebecca. She was canonized in 2001 by Pope John Paul ll. She is the patron saint of sick people and loss of parents. She was an only child and lost her own mom at the age of 7. Rebecca had a strong devotion to the blessed mother which she learned from her mother and at the age of 21 she entered the religious life. She served as a teacher for many years at the age of 39 she decided to become a cloistered contemplative nun living under a strict rule in a monastery. Here she prayed that she might share in the sufferings of Christ. Her prayers were answered, and she became blind and paralyzed, and over the course of 30 years she struggled with incredible pain and deteriorating health. After all her sufferings she united with Christ, without complaint.
Whatever suffering or cross you are carrying, are you willing to let go and rest in His presence? Let us send a message of a joyful sound and walk in the light of His face! God bless you and may you have a fruitful Lent.
Roxane Angotta, Spiritual Director, Malta House