Friday, May 16, 2014

What Thorn Have You Been Given?

I was waiting for Mass to begin and thought of St Rita, in whose honor the Mass and novena were being held.  I wondered what her reaction was to the wound inflicted on her forehead on Good Friday. Did knowing that this wound came directly from Our Lord make it any easier to bear?  I delude myself at times with the notion that if I knew my sufferings came directly from God I might more happily bear them. Yeah, right. Of course they come from God! 

In this life, the gifts we are sent emerge solely from the Passion of Christ.  He will gladly spare a thorn from the brutal crown forced upon His sacred head. We may not bear it physically or if we do, it's not obvious to anyone else.  The crown of His glory cannot be shared in this lifetime and cannot be earned if the instrument of suffering is rejected.  

I have at times offered to trade in my thorns for ones I think I would rather endure.  This is, of course, playing the coward.  God knows best and does not engage in conditional plea bargaining. ( If You give me this, I will gladly do that).  

At some point after realizing that Jesus answered her prayer to allow her a share in His suffering, St Rita further understood what this remarkable gift entailed.  The pain, infection, and unpleasant odor that accompanied her stigmata often left the saint spurned by others in her community. When the congregation planned to go on a pilgrimage, Rita was told she could not come along because of the wound. Tradition holds that the sore miraculously healed so that she could make the journey and that upon returning to Cascia it appeared again.  This lead to uncharitable speculation on the point of some that her wound was self-inflicted. But Rita was consumed with love for Christ Crucified and concerned solely with comforting Him however she could. If gossip, lack of charity and perhaps even jealousy wounded her, she did not let on. 

Very few are chosen to bear the physical signs of His Passion but whether we realize it or not, He constantly offers us the intangible ones. Humiliation, mortification, rejection, loneliness and betrayal were no strangers to Our Lord. Will we accept them as precious gifts or throw them away?   The former cannot happen without His help. 

My prayer to St Rita for myself is that God continues to supply the help needed to accept His graces.  Be assured I am praying to her for all of our children, that He will grant them the graces necessary for salvation. 

1 comment:

  1. Thank you for this excellent post TLW, it is most heartening.


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