Saturday, December 1, 2012

Letters of hope and consolation # 18

In your time of physical sickness and suffering you have experienced the absence of friends and family. Those who have told you repeatedly that they love you were simply not there as you needed them to be. There were few phone calls and emails and even fewer visits from those who you could “count” on. And now you are forced to spend these days with an agonizing loneliness hovering over you.

What could I possibly say to you to try and console you? To some extent you are right, prayer is not enough, we need a human touch, a human companion to hold us, to talk with, to cry with and confide in. When we don’t have even that life itself feels like a meaningless endeavor or a cruel trick played on us by some ruthless authority figure. Loneliness is after all, such a terrible feeling, that we are often tempted to do just about anything to remove it from our life.

Yet here is what is remarkable. Jesus himself experienced loneliness at a level, thankfully, you and I will probably never experience in this life. He was betrayed by Judas and Peter and by almost all of the disciples at an hour when he needed them most. When Jesus is arrested in the garden of Gethsemane the Gospels state, “Then all the disciples left him and fled” (Mt 26:56). While he was forced to suffer the excruciating agony of the crucifixion, Jesus was for the most part alone, with the exception of a few women and the apostle John (Jn 19-25-26). In his humanity he even felt as if he had been abandoned by his Father, “My God, my God, why have you forsaken me? (Mk 15:34)

Is this not your experience as well? Without underestimating your feelings and what your experience has been like these past few days would it be too much of a stretch to say that what was true of Jesus is true of you? You have been abandoned and disappointed by friends and family but, like Jesus, you were still not alone. Even though you felt the Father’s absence and could have cried out the same words that Jesus did, “My God, my God, why have you forsaken me?” He was still there, as He was for Jesus on the cross, strengthening him, holding him and staying faithfully by his side. How could you have survived these past few days if this were not true for you also?

This reality certainly might not take away the hurt you feel in your heart but it should affirm a truth that you and I both need to be reminded of regularly; God is always faithfully by your side. He has no desire of ever leaving you. Even when you feel as if He to has abandoned you, He is there, He has been there and will continue to be there everyday of your life.

God bless you,

Fr. Jeremiah Myriam Shryock, CFR
St. Felix Friary, Yonkers, NY

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1 comment:

  1. Thank you for this well-written post. Peace.