„…As the soldiers led him away, they seized Simon from Cyrene, who was on his way in from the country, and put the cross on him and made him carry it behind Jesus.” (Luke 23:26)
Even though he acted under constraint, we remember him each time we reflect upon the Stations of the Cross. Because whether he liked it or not, he carried the cross – as long as it was needed. His effort became the part of our Lord’s Way of the Cross.
My little son’s weeping in the middle of the night, a sudden phone call with a request for help, illness of a relative or a child’s problem that demands a quick response. Sometimes I am also compelled by the situation to do something urgently, at this very moment. It is most difficult when I’m just “on my way in from the country” – when I’m dead tired and all I dream of is to take a rest.
It is not always easy to make a gift of myself. Sometimes I even have to force myself to manage the task with love. And it doesn’t always feel great to do so. What helps in that case is the consciousness that the gift of myself which costs me much, when I offer it to the Lord, becomes the parable “talent” that He may use as He wishes, thus multiplying its initial value. Doesn’t it please Him – also this effort which I force myself to make – out of love? There are the days when you have the opportunity collect a lot of such “talents” for Him.
When I tell Him about all wasted opportunities, He refreshes my memory of things that worked out all right.
Where I see the emptiness, He says He has never left me.
Where I see dead seeds, He can see the potential for something new and better to arise.
When I say: I have spoilt this and that, He says: Look how much you’ve learnt.
When I know for sure: This will never work, He encourages: Don’t worry it didn’t work, try again.
When I think: I’ve had enough, He says: I see you’re in pain, tell me about it. I have time.
When I say: I don’t understand, He says: I know, but trust Me.
When I give up and can do no more, He reminds me: I love you. In every situation you may choose to love. One day, when all this is gone, you’ll see together with Me that love was the only thing that mattered.
“If you hold to my teaching, you are really my disciples. Then you will know the truth, and the truth will set you free.” (John 8:31-32)
Jesus offers the truth that liberates.
Every day, from the morning on, I learn to use the gift of freedom. And this is not easy at all, since the impulse to dominate and to fulfill my selfish needs makes me try to subordinate my husband and children and thus abuse this gift.
And yet Jesus wants me to see HIM in the other person, so in my closest family as well. He wants me to renounce myself and to change – not the others, but myself.
My students told me, if they were to have a heart transplantation, they would pick me as a donor. Because my heart has not been used.
My mum loves me much and she thinks me the best of her sons. Because she has no other son; there are only my two sisters with my brothers-in-law and 6 grandchildren.
I’m a son, a spiritual father, a brother, an uncle, a brother-in-law, a friend, a confidant, a priest, a consecrated person, a lecturer… How many of us are there? Who am I in the end? Which of those words describes me best?
Who or WHO should I turn to in order to look for the source of my „self”? He told Simon: you are Peter, He named Saul: Paul. Only he knows me entirely. Only He knows my true name. Only He has the answers to my questions.
The most wonderful thing in it is that He knows me entirely, because He has loved me to the end. I don’t know who I am going to be at the end, but probably I don’t need to know it now. I know when I reach the end, I’ll find Love. But in order to be able to recognize and embrace that Love one day, I want to love as much as I can today.
Today we’re traveling in our mind and heart to Nazareth. It’s there where the course of history was changed forever: Jesus was conceived!
I look at Mary with so much admiration. She accepted this unusual and unexpected event in such a calm manner, with her humble and trustful heart, open to God’s plans. She must have been conscious of what her FIAT meant – she might have been stoned to death, among the possible consequences. She must have also wondered how Joseph would react to this situation.
And Joseph – didn’t he suffer, when he found out his beloved wife got pregnant – became a mother to a child that he did not father for sure? I admire Joseph for his ability to defend Mary from accusation in his own heart. He defended her, even though he didn’t understand. And yet he didn’t judge, didn’t condemn, didn’t reproach or resent Mary.
Wasn’t the appearance of Jesus a test of their marital love, in the first moment of coping with the news? A test they passed in such an impressive manner?
Even though it is always a happy event which deserves to be celebrated in most beautiful ways, also for many of us – fathers and mothers – an unexpected conception of a child may sometimes become a test of marital love.
It seems God meant marital life to contain great joy and suffering, hope and anxiety – if He let the holiest married couple, Mary and Joseph, experience them. Let’s entrust our parenthood to them today. Let’s ask them for their assistance in our tests of love. Because they do understand us so well!
The title “Courageous” has been translated into Polish as “The Heroes”. So now, Ladies and Gents, it’s time for us. On high heels, in slippers, barefoot in the sandpit. Talented in metamorphosis.
Struggling with tiredness, struggling with another praline, but most of all – struggling with the pressure to fit the covers of all three magazines: Super-Wife, Super-Mum and Businesswoman of the Year. Superwoman.
Do I have to be “super-someone”? Every day I’m just busy juggling.* I toss a couple of balls in the air. Homework, petrol for PLN 5.74 a liter, rehabilitation, rolls, new English words, empty windscreen washing jet, powder, son’s birthday, fish, interpersonal training.
I try hard not to let them fall intthe bushes. But let’s be honest: even though I toss the balls, they don’t always land where I’d like them to. Fortunately! Fortunately, I don’t have to be super-anybody. People don’t like super-humans. My family doesn’t like me in a superhuman version. They prefer when I smile.
I smile. I’d like to remember always not to pursue anything at any cost. To remember that people are far more important than things. That success is a relative notion and sometimes it looks like a cheese pancake. That I don’t “have to” do anything but love – and love entails a lot of brilliant things. Even if they cost me my place on the cover of a magazine.
* “I Don’t Know How She Does It”, Douglas McGrath, USA 2011
…the faithful will abide with Him in love… (Book of Wisdom 3:9)
Mother of God – present from the beginning to the very end of the way of the cross.
Faithful in love. Courageous and unswerving in suffering. She shows us how important it is to be there for the one in pain – to be there even without saying a word, to offer kindness, to support them with prayer.
Let’s not forget that the Mother is there for us in all our hard times and sorrow. And let’s learn how to support the others in suffering from Her.
“You study the Scriptures diligently because you think that in them you have eternal life.” (John 5:39)
Not only is studying the Scriptures difficult – as it takes quite some time and effort – but accepting their message is even more demanding. Mere “study” at the level of the intellect is not enough: you have to let the Word touch you and guide you.
Your lifelong love affair with the Bible may start with reading the excerpts selected for everyday Mass. They are God’s personal letter to you, they shed light on your life situation and they give this unusual sense of being united with the members of the Church in the whole world, because we all listen to the same Word.
Reading the Bible is like sitting at the feet of Jesus – close to a Friend, who speaks directly to you. To you and to me. There are times you may not understand a friend of yours, and so it may happen here. If you spend enough time with Him day by day, you’ll eventually find the explanation of things that are beyond grasp today.