“This illness is not to end in death, but is for the glory of God, that the Son of God may be glorified through it.” -John 11:4
“Blessed are they who mourn, for they shall be comforted” – Matthew 5:4
The Gospel is full of paradoxes. “whoever loses his life for my sake will find it.” (Matthew 16:25) and "unless you turn and become like children, you will not enter the kingdom of heaven” (Matthew 18:3) are to name a few. Like many other areas in the Bible, mourning is something that follows such a pattern.
"Amen, I say to you, unless you turn and become like children, you will not enter the kingdom of heaven.” - Matthew 18:3
Ever since my sisters and I were young children, our mom would encourage us to “live beautifully.”
As a child, it was easy to do so. I found everything so beautiful: So many of the people, places, and things that I encountered all around me were filled with beauty. My warm grandmother, my dusty neighborhood park, and my random collections of stickers, books, and dried leaves (pressed between the pages of these books) were all so, so beautiful.
A few months ago my friend was experiencing a crisis situation. I took the matter to prayer, earnestly praying for her to emerge victorious through it all. I very deeply and sincerely prayed with this outcome in mind; after all, it was good thing I was praying for out of love for my neighbor.
Crash! Her victory for which I was praying ended in defeat. She was crushed! Not only that, but I felt awfully let down from a prayer point of view. What happened? Why did God not deliver?
Two things that keep this lady ticking: Jesus & Coffee. It’s how I start every morning: a cup of Maxwell House and time with Jesus. One fills my corporal need for caffeine, the Other filling my heart with love. As I take out my coffee, the words on the Maxwell House can strike me as I am preparing my java to accompany my morning prayer: “Good to the last drop.”
As I went to prayer this morning, I brought to the Lord a sorrowful heart, a heart that had been wounded by some individuals that I’m close to. As I looked up at the image of Divine Mercy that hung in my living room, I looked upon the Blood and Water flowing from Jesus side, and I heard these words beckoning from His pierced side… “good to the Last Drop.”
When I was a sophomore in college, I began a tradition of blocking out some time during Holy Week to watch The Passion. There is definitely an assortment of opinions that surround this movie, but for me being a more visual learner this film allows me to be immersed in the great sacrifice that Christ made for each of us.
There is one scene that has always moved me in particular- Mary seeing her son collapsing under the weight and strain of the cross, so she runs to Him. The movie then flashes back and forth between Mary running to Jesus as a child who had tripped, and Him currently weak falling under the cross. All Mary wants to do in both cases is simply let Him know he is not alone. As she embraces Him, Jesus looks into her eyes and says, “See Mother, I make all things new.”
Just that word can make us shutter. It can make us want to run in the other direction. Or maybe it can make us think, “No, not another one of those talks on Catholicism and sacrifice…”
I know for myself when I hear this word, I immediately think of those times I heard “offer it up” when I was growing up, but not understanding what that meant.
But Sister, hear me out…I think a healthy and open conversation about sacrifice is so important to our Church today.
So, Valentine’s day is right around the corner.
It’s a lovely time of year when love is in the constant forefront of our minds and conversations. We see all of the cards, chocolates, and flowers for sale- the advertisements of men getting that special someone something unique to commemorate their love…
Now, don’t get me wrong- none of these things are wrong. It’s a beautiful thing to give and receive, to have a reminder that we are loved- not only by our friends and family, but by God who loves us eternally. These are all really good things.
But sometimes it can be easy to reduce that good, beautiful, and hopeful love to things like cards, chocolates, and flowers. I mean, I love chocolate as much as the next girl- but sometimes it can be difficult to remember that love does not revolve around a single day.
Love requires sacrifice.