stay, don't leave

March 26, 2013 11:12 am

A friend of my Husband’s, a father to two small children, fell ill with cancer several years ago. The diagnosis leaving very little hope arrived during the Triduum. After a tough battle for life, which took many months, he and his wife very briefly shared their memories of that difficult time during a retreat for families. They said that it was very painful to listen to the phone which fell completely silent, to witness no more visitors, and to receive no more proposals of social events. They thanked my Husband for maintaining usual contact. And yet I remember him going to the hospital to see his friend after an operation which proved entirely unsuccessful. He was afraid and thinking: “What am I going to tell him?”

We could say, if you want people out of your way, tell them about your suffering to which you know no cure. Helplessness disturbs in people the memory of simple words and gestures which may bring relief to those in pain. We find it easier to be busy and “effective”.

What’s left to say to Jesus, facing the last days of His life, already doomed, sentenced to death? Well, He surely will manage somehow on His own, God’s ordained it all, there’s nothing to do to prevent it. Soon it will be Saturday, Easter Sunday and Monday.

And yet it does make such a great difference to Him – if there’s someone with Him. Someone – means you, because no one can replace you in His heart. He would like you to be there – with the small range of things to do. But don’t you hold your child’s hand when it’s ill? And if you were alone and facing the terror of death – wouldn’t you like to know that someone is there with you?

Certainly we all carry in ourselves Peter, and the potential for desertion, we’re no better than him. But we also have in our hearts John and Mary Magdalene with their limiltless and “irrational” love. Did Jesus, in the great spectacle of rejection, notice that they were with Him? His life faded in torment.

But even in fading, and maybe especially when we seem to fade away – don’t we need someone to be there with us till the very end?

Margaret

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