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Wednesday, 4 September 2013

Accepting Suffering and St. Catherine of Siena

So many of my friends are suffering. The list is getting longer and longer for intercessory prayer. I can hardly keep up with all the requests.

I myself am trying to pray while ill. Some think that times of illness are great for prayer. Quite the contrary. One cannot concentrate or meditate. One can only try and rest in God.

Illness destroys sleep patterns and eating habits. One does not know what to expect next if the symptoms are new and odd.

One of the common themes in St. John of the Cross and St. Teresa of Avila is that of accepting suffering.

One cannot choose the way it comes to one. God does that. When I came to Ireland almost two months ago, I was coming out of a convent experience and a bit of post-monastery transition. My time in Kent was marked by the suffering in my health I had incurred in the hard scheduling and work in the monastery-serious sciatic. Happily, for a month I felt great. Then, smack-down, another problem of health occurred and has plagued me for several weeks.

What does this all mean? Why should one even makes sense of suffering? Two of my best friends here are very ill. In both cases, we cannot even manage to visit each other and we love each other dearly. Such is suffering. The denial of consolations...

So many things I wanted to see and do here have been set aside because I simply cannot do or see these things. Two of my friends and I have set up lunches, dinners, and had to cancel meetings over and over. We have taken turns cancelling.

Being a stranger in a strange land is a suffering when one is denied one's friends. Being poor in a strange land complicates life, or simplifies it depending on one's view point.

Even the greatest saints were not allowed much freedom of movement. Poor Padre Pio and John of the Cross were actually imprisoned, not allowed to be in public, or say Mass publicly.

St. Catherine of Siena barely had energy to walk to Mass towards the end of her short life.

Some seculars look askance at Catholics and our tradition of canonizing people they see as masochistic minded. One cannot explain to the non-believer the absolute necessity of suffering.

God reminds us that He is All we need. He squeezes us into small holes in order to show us our great need for Him alone. the nothing we find God and He finds us.

Soon, God willing, I shall go back to another look on this blog to one of the Doctors of the Church who I discovered in depth when I had cancer in 2009, St. Catherine of Siena.

She is another one of those saints for our times.

Here are the older posts on her to get you interested, if you have not seen them.

Update: Please note I do not published Anonymous comments, but some have been very supportive and lovely.

To be continued...