Our Lady of Guadalupe, Patroness of the America’s looks down upon the American Flag draped coffin of World War II Fighter Pilot, William Edward Ferris, Jr.
Jesus said to them, “Amen, amen, I say to you, before Abraham came to be, I AM.” John 8:58
The past few months since COVID started everyone is experiencing an uptick in suffering. These are difficult times. Times to cling to God. We lost my sister’s father-in-law Bill, on August 6, 2020, just a few weeks shy of his 98 birthday. You may remember we lost his wife Reba back in September. I had taken my own mom and dad with me to Reba’s funeral, but due to COVID, my mom’s stroke, and her diagnosis with vascular dementia, I was unable to take them this time. My husband and children, due to many varying circumstances couldn’t come with me either. I made the ride alone.
As always when I write about my conversations with God, if the church came out and said it was wrong, the church is correct and I am wrong. Know that as you discern what I am about to write. You may remember awhile back that I posted about 3 Days of Darkness and about the vastness of God and how sin can permeate all of creation. Taking a 7 hour car ride alone to the funeral, I had much to talk to God about, a continuation of our previous conversations.
God has continually been speaking to me about being grateful in all things. I have heard the Saints speak of this, and have often tried to be grateful about things, but more often than not I find myself complaining. After all, suffering is hard, how in the world can one possibly be grateful when your mother looks at you and doesn’t remember who you are?
I told God this was hard. And during this long journey he began to speak to me about many things, on the way to the funeral he mostly spoke to me of suffering, and I gained a new perspective.
We know that when sin came into the world, that original sin was passed to all of us, and we know that it is sin that brought death and suffering. Prior to the fall there was no death and man was in union with the will of God, a place where there was no suffering.
I asked the Lord about my mom. He said that all suffering is from sin coming into the world, but not all suffering placed on an individual is because of their own personal sin. This I already knew, but He expanded my view. We are a Mystical Body that was created at the beginning of time and we are all connected. The Lord showed me how generations of sin resulted in diseases over time. We were never meant to have diseases, but as the rift of sin grows deeper, the further we get as a Body get from the Divine Physician, the more we get sick, and the more we rely on ourselves to heal. We are at a point where things are exploding because of the culmination of thousands of years of sin.
Jesus came to pay this debt of sin. But he didn’t come to do it and be the only one loving. He came to do it to show us how to love, how to pay back the debt. We could never pay it without him, but he does seek our cooperation in it. This is because God is Glory. But He doesn’t just want the Glory for Himself. He wants it for us. He wants to divinize us. God is Love and He wants us to be Love too, but not the fake mimicry that Satan says is love, God’s love is self-sacrificing.
He showed me two biblical stories in this regard. And then he showed me my own personal story.
The first was the story of Job. We all know the story. Job was a righteous man. In fact in the beginning of the book of Job we see him offering sacrifice for the sins of his children. A father’s love does that. And here we see the devil ask God if he can basically go after Job. And God says yes, which to all of us may seem so cruel. Why would God allow the devil to go after the righteous man? What I felt the Lord show me was that because Job is part of the Mystical Body, he was participating in the expiation of sin. And the amazing thing about this is that he was doing it before Christ came in time. We see Job complain, we see him curse the day he was born, but what we don’t see is Job turning away from God, who Job knows is good. Do you see that? All that suffering, and Job clings to God. When Job is taken into the whirlwind he puts his hand to his mouth at the immensity of it. And what I felt like God showed me was that God in showing Job His Glory, also showed Job how Job himself was glorified, how Job had really made reparation for sin, how the Lord would restore him and his family, both the ones he lost, and the ones to be born.
The next story is the story of the man born blind in the 9th Chapter of John. Jesus is clear in this story that neither the man, nor his parents sinned, but we can know that eyes are supposed to see, so that fact that they didn’t see we can deduce is borne of sin – just not his sin or his ancestors – it had to be the sin of another in the Mystical Body. Jesus says he is blind so the works of God might be displayed in him. And then Jesus uses clay and tells him to wash in the pool of Siloam. Jesus uses the materials of creation to heal the man born blind. It shows not only the Glory of God, but it glorifies the man and the physical things of creation itself.
It was here that the Lord took me to my own story. My post-partum depression was a time of immense suffering for me. I wanted to die. The Lord showed me how I made a choice to cling to him and how in that clinging to him I was repairing for generations of sin, repairing in a way that would even spare my own children suffering. And I cried, and I was so grateful. I was grateful for my post partum depression. And I praised and thanked God for it that my children could be spared because of my own suffering.
We have two choices when suffering comes our way, cling to God, or fall away. When we fall away the darkness gets larger, creation gets sicker, suffering becomes more. When we cling to him, the light becomes brighter, the grace fills us up, we partake in the cross, and Resurrection awaits.
When we suffer with a grateful heart, it looks like Maximilian Kolbe singing praise as he was starved for 11 days and just wouldn’t die until they gave him a lethal injection. People in that concentration camp knew there was something different going on, and the man he saved they protected after his death. Franciszek Gajowniczek was saved not just by Maximilian, but by others who saw what Maximilian did for him and protected him afterwards. He lived to see the Saint be canonized. God’s glory spread. Reparation was made. Maximilian was glorified by God but so were countless souls for whom he partook in the Cross of Christ that was given to him.
So I went back to thinking about my mom in her stroke and memory loss and my dad who has suffered severe back pain and I thought about what I see them doing, even through memory loss, even through back pain. They are praying. They are taking all of it to God. Dad even prays the names of people outloud and offers up his pain for them. Mom in her memory loss hasn’t forgotten the Rosary. And I remembered that long suffering is a fruit of the Holy Spirit, and I knew why. It is reparation in a world that so desperately needs it; a world that is steeped in sin, generations of sin. And many of our elderly are the praying kind of people because they learned long ago that someone else is in control. Our elderly right now, dying alone of COVID, and locked down in isolation because of it, they are making reparation when they hand it to God. In a place where those of us who love them have so little control, we can ask the Lord to Bless them and keep them all the days of their lives. And we can be grateful, so so grateful for them, even in the suffering of all of us.
As I went to the funeral for Mr. Ferris, a man who was like second dad me, I was sorrowful and joyful, this made me understand the heart of our Blessed Mother whose sorrows were also her joys. In Bill’s own long suffering, surviving two plane crashes, the war, and several other life altering and changing situations we saw a life well lived. A man that while he was capable never missed Mass. A man who prayed the Rosary with his family while his wife passed away. You can be grateful in the sorrow.
Requiescat in Pace Mr. Ferris, we will be praying for you, please pray for us!
In the next couple of days I will be posting about what the Lord and his Mother spoke to me about on the way home from this trip.
Saint John of the Cross, pray for us!
Dear Sister in Christ, Thank you for teaching me right at the moment I needed it. Bless you! Marianne Starchville Youngsville, NC
God Bless you.
Susan, thank you for sharing this profound meditation. It brought tears to my eyes. May God take the suffering that we offer to Him through the hands of Our Lady; and may He use it to save the maximum number of souls… especially the souls of those whom we hold dear.
Thank you Mick. Hope you have been well.
We’re all fine, Susan; thanks. I hope that you and your family are well; and I have said a prayer for your mother and father, God bless them.
Thank you. We are well, all things considered. God is good all the time.
…And all the time, God is good.
That reflection was so beautiful .Thank you so much for sharing .May God bless you
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God Bless you too.
I love you.
What a beautiful sharing from the heart x had a mixture of emotion, tears , inspiration all from your story and witness to Christ in your life thank you so much needed that right now struggling with anxiety and ibs and do pray and give it up but take it back sometime when I’m really in pain 💔 grieving too my brother and uncle during the lockdown so a lot going on ❤️ I would ask if you keep me in your prayers and I will keep you in mine. God Bless 🙏
Praying for you now. God Bless.
This is what was given to me on the topic of Misery and Suffering in contemplation in the past:
Misery and Suffering
God is all good, but for God to be merciful there must be misery. Misery and mercy are intertwined. If there is no misery there is no need for mercy. God takes what is bad (Satan, Sin etc.) and the misery that results and ultimately uses them for the good thru his unending mercy. Suffering is a good example of this, by Jesus’s suffering he procured our ultimate good. It is through the trust placed in God, even with suffering and misery that our faith blossoms. The more we experience the mercy of God and the Love it expresses the more we are compelled to Love God ourselves. The expression “No pain, no gain” rings true even in the spiritual life! It is due to our misery that God can express his love by extending to us his mercy.
Romans 5:3-5 “And not only that, but we[d] also boast in our sufferings, knowing that suffering produces endurance, and endurance produces character, and character produces hope, and hope does not disappoint us, because God’s love has been poured into our hearts through the Holy Spirit that has been given to us.”
God does not cause misery or suffering. Misery was self-inflicted by both the down-fall of Satan and his demons and by us due to our choice at the Garden of Eden (and continued poor choices as well). Allowing misery and suffering was a choice decided by Adam by rejecting all that was good (God) through sin, as an act of pride to be like God (knowledge of good and evil). We knew “good” in the Garden of Eden, and when we sinned, we got to know evil, and it brought us misery and suffering.
Our suffering even caused (and causes) God to suffer misery, and because of his perfect Love he is compelled to be merciful to us. God wants to lavish his unending mercy upon us! As an example, Jesus himself suffered (and suffers) the miseries of human life for us. Jesus became the most miserable person in all of time through his horrible and unjust passion and death, suffering at the very hands of his own creatures whom he created and loves, and from that misery sprang the greatest of all mercies, the means of our salvation.
We are created in the image and likeness of God. As mentioned above our original sin was based on the desire to be like God in the knowledge of good and evil, and now we know evil, and from it we experience suffering and misery. When we suffer well, and offer our misery and suffering to God, and in union with God’s own suffering we live in imitation and union with God. Our suffering and misery offered to and united with Gods is a conduit of his unfailing mercy. We can in a sense be like God, not just in knowing good and evil, but by extending mercy to those who are miserable and who suffer. What decent parent does not suffer for the love of their children? Who wouldn’t gladly take upon themselves their hurts and miseries of their children as an act of mercy if they could? This is what God our Father does for the love he has for us. Misery is ultimately conquered by mercy by accepting and imitating the goodness and love of God. We can be like God by extending our mercy to others, or we can be like Satan by causing suffering and misery in the world. Mercy only needs to exist due to suffering and misery, since we are the cause of that by our choice to sin, let us at least offer what mercy we can as a recompense.
Thank you. God Bless you.
Bless you dear Susan for sharing this with us, your online family. What an honor to “attend” the final transmission of the colors ceremony, for us to see and remember the worthy and just reverence shown to our flag. We have forgotten what a hero looks like, until we watch and read this again…
There are two lines that make up the Holy Cross of Jesus Christ. One is vertical, the other is horizontal . If the vertical axis is one of Adoration, and the horizontal axis is one of Reparation…then we have the whole meaning of our suffering and offering of it to God, with love and gratitude.
It would seem clear to me that William Edward Ferris lived in a state of Adoration and Reparation, just as your parents are doing , even still…
Deo Gratias , straight from the broken heart of the Mystical Body of Christ …..
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Susan , Many prayers of healing and peace at this time. What a thoughtful soul-bearing testimony, and inspiration from your post that teaches what our Lord has for us when we let Him take the wheel. Pax Tecum, Joe Ott
My mom suffered for eight long years with Parkinsons and Dementia. As my older brother and I cared for her in her own home during that time I found myself drawing closer to God throughout the struggle. The three of us suffered together during that time and I always felt that my mom’s quiet perseverance and will to live was a reparation for the sins of her family. Your reflection also brought tears to my eyes as I think back on that difficult but strangely beautiful time. Stay close to your mom. It will be a struggle but you will share beautiful moments together. God Bless you and your family.
Thank you so much. God bless you.
Yes. We are allowed to suffer because He loves us and He needs is.
What a comfort you are and Our Lord is using your gift to comfort so many others in these times. Viva cristos rey!
Thank you and God bless you.
I will just reiterate what another sister-in-Christ said…I needed to hear this also…. as a widow of 4 years I so miss the companionship of my husband during this time…but I am happy that he is safely home in Heaven….I am thankful for that through my tears…
God Bless you.
My brother is currently suffering from gallstone and unfortunately he tested positive for COVID and so things become more complicated. His doctor won’t see him in person and unless he tests negative, he won’t have endoscopy. I suffer for him. I told him to offer all his pains for the sake of the poor souls in Purgatory. The other day he told me how he made the Stations of the Cross while suffering and realized how painful it was for the LORD to have undergone such ordeal.
Like what St Therese said, everything is grace. Even the suffering of my brother brought him some consolation.
I am very sorry for your brother. It’s beautiful what he realized. I will pray for him.