Praying with today’s readings has me focusing on the letter from the Hebrews. Hospitality, prisoners, the ill-treated, married couples as well as the greedy, the immoral and adulterers–the whole gamut of life, both good and ill, is referenced.
It goes on to say to be content with what we have, ‘I will never forsake you or abandon you.’ This is said 3 other times in the bible; Deut 31:6, Joshua 1:5 and Mt 28:20. We are told to say with confidence: The Lord is my helper, and I will not be afraid. What can anyone do to me? Here is one of the 365 times the bible tells us not to be afraid, yet I catch myself being anxious and fearful about some aspect of life every day.
It seems these fears, depression, anxiety, and illnesses can act as a veil. It limits our focus or world view to just getting through the current situation affecting me. It can cloud my hope and my ability to feel the love or care being offered by companions, family, and friends.
Recently, my pastor referred to the veil that separates heaven and earth. He emphasized that the veil dissolves during the liturgy of the Eucharist every single time Mass is offered. He stressed that we can see the Father’s love outpoured in the living sacrifice we receive in the body and blood of His Son.
It struck me that this veil is so similar to that of those affected by illness (mental or physical). Many in society see only the illness, not the person. I think of my family members who struggle with reclusiveness, alcoholism, narcissism, COPD, Lyme disease, cancer, anxiety, and so many other maladies. This veil can keep the truth hidden in each situation, by those directly affected and those who are looking to judge. Similarly, there are many in the world who do not see the Eucharist as Jesus’ physical body and blood. A veil is over their eyes to the truth.
Pope Francis spoke to the youth of the world (WYD 2016 & 2019) about praying the stations of the cross because the stations are not just for our Lenten journey. The following introduction to the Way of the Cross at the Colosseum 2013 begins, “The call to follow Christ is addressed to all, especially to the young and to those who are tried by division, wars or injustice and who fight to be signs of hope and builders of peace in the midst of their brethren.”
We contemplate you, Lord, along this path which you were the first to tread, and after which “you built a bridge to death with your Cross, so that men might pass from the land of death to the land of Life” (Saint Ephraim the Syrian, Homily).
Therefore, join me in placing ourselves before you with love, we present our sufferings to you, we turn our gaze and our heart to your Holy Cross, and strengthened by your promise, we pray: “Blessed be our Redeemer, who has given us life by his death. O Redeemer, realize in us the mystery of your redemption, through your passion, death, and resurrection” (Maronite Liturgy).
Beth is part of the customer service team at Diocesan. She brings a unique depth of experience to the team from her time spent in parish ministries, sales and the service industry over the last 25 yrs. She is a practicing spiritual director as well as a Secular Franciscan (OFS). Beth is quick to offer a laugh, a prayer or smile to all she comes in contact with. Reach her here email@example.com.