Monday, Thirtieth Week in Ordinary Time
Readings of the day: RB 23Mass: Romans 8:12-17; Resp. Psalm 68; Luke 13:10-17The Spirit himself bears witness with our spirit that we are children of God, and if children, then heirs, heirs of God and joint heirs with Christ, if only we suffer with him so that we may also be glorified with him.
I hope I never forget a valuable lesson learned years ago in a pastoral counseling class: “You can try to walk in someone else’s shoes, but remember, you will never walk in someone else’s shoes.” This is especially important when I might be tempted to tell someone, “I understand how you feel,” or “I know exactly what you are going through.” The truth is, I can never fully understand how someone else feels or experience something in the same way someone else does. That said, I can be compassionate towards others. Compassion means “to suffer with.” Therefore, I can be with others in the midst of trials and tribulations. As children of God and members of the Body of Christ we are meant to share in the sufferings of others and help one another carry our burdens and lighten the load. One way we might do this is to pray with our eyes, modeled by Cardinal Basil Hume:I like that because sometimes in the morning when you’re tired and have a lot of worries in your head, it’s not easy to get the head up to God, so you have to pray with your eyes. Sometimes I just sit and look at the cross and say to myself: in all hospitals there are people dying. A lot of people I meet or who write letters to me are suffering terribly at this moment. So, looking at the cross, I think of all those people sharing that passion, sharing the agony of the Lord. And if God became man—as indeed he did—he came to share a lot of what we all have to live and undergo and gives it meaning and purpose and makes it holy. I find that very powerful, and when people say to me, “I’m very worried” or “I’ve just lost my husband” or “There’s been a terrible tragedy in our family—please pray for me,” I say, “Yes, I’ll do it tomorrow morning.” So sitting in the chapel, looking at the crucifix, I remember that person (B. Hume, Hope from the Cross, 77-78).