My beloved child, delight of my Heart, your words are dearer and more pleasing to me than the angelic chorus. All the treasures of My Heart are open to you. Take from this Heart all that you need for yourself and for the whole world. For the sake of your love, I withhold the just chastisements, which mankind has deserved. A single act of pure love pleases me more than a thousand imperfect prayers. One of your sighs of love atones for many offenses with which the godless overwhelm Me. The smallest act of virtue has unlimited value in my eyes because of your great love for Me. In a soul that lives on My love alone, I reign as in heaven. I watch over it day and night. In it I find My happiness; My ear is attentive to each request of its heart; often I anticipate its requests. O child, especially beloved by Me, apple of my eye, rest a moment near My Heart and taste of the love in which you will delight for all eternity. – (Jesus to Faustina Diary 1489 Conversation of the Merciful God with a Perfect Soul)
The dreary routine has set in after the funeral of my father. The funeral itself was beautiful. It was a family reunion. The exhaustion of it was overwhelming. Then came the Sunday after all the people had left and it was just me and mom. My kids have gone back to school, my husband is back to work. I do have help from amazing caregivers, but it’s the moments alone at night with mom that are the hardest.
Right now I live in some version of 50 first dates or Ground Hog Day. Mom’s memory is rapidly declining. She gets agitated in the evening and I spend the majority of the time trying to convince her to stay with me rather than going where ever it is she thinks she has to go. Last week it was a wedding, yesterday a college reunion, the glimmers of the outgoing social butterfly my mom once was come through in all the confabulation of her thoughts.
But then comes the remembering. She asks me if “my Mike” is gone. She calls him her “main man” and she realizes he is dead, and the sobbing is body shaking sobbing. I climb into bed with her. I hold her as she asks me why I didn’t tell her (which I did), why I didn’t take her to the funeral (which I did). I lay there with her and we cry. It’s all I can do, hold her and cry with her.
As I laid there in bed with her the other night, I felt the Lord whisper, “there’s more grace in this one act of holding your mother than in anything else you have ever done.”
I knew that all the writings I have written, all the classes I have taught, all the retreats I have put on, paled in comparison to the minutes I laid in bed and held my mother. I was not able to fix any of what was happening, I was just in the suffering with her. And though I have been known to complain about what I am living right now, in that moment I welcomed the suffering and asked God to let it continue because grace was flowing like a river.
As I climbed into my own bed that evening I picked up the Diary of Saint Faustina and I read the above passage. I read how he withheld chastisement from us because of her love. And I understood it.
I came to realize that God’s view of suffering is vastly different from our own. The only suffering for God is our sin; it’s that we love something more than Him. And God, who is love, knows that when we love something more than Him, we are actually turning from love and we become dark in our hearts. It’s why acts of pure love are so filled with grace, because heaven truly resides within them. It’s why the world is in so much pain because we cling to our comforts, our health, our science, our money, other people, more than we cling to him. And in doing this we actually miss out on how to truly love other people.
I scan the headlines these days, but try not to get sucked into them. The world tries to give you an idol and tell you it’s love. But the truth is nothing the world offers can even come close to the love that the God of creation offers. He has been asking us to repent, to stop trusting the ways of the world more than we trust him. It’s why he told Faustina to paint, “Jesus I trust in you.”
I can see the storm we are in and the trajectory we are on. We actually deserve chastisement. We as a society have turned to sin and darkened hearts, but as I read the above passage from Saint Faustina’s diary, I realize how much just one soul who lives in the love and the will of God can do for the rest of mankind because of the God of love dwelling within them. I want to be one of those souls. I hope you do too.
Love never fails. But where there are prophecies, they will cease; where there are tongues, they will be stilled; where there is knowledge, it will pass away. For we know in part and we prophesy in part, but when completeness comes, what is in part disappears. When I was a child, I talked like a child, I thought like a child, I reasoned like a child. When I became a man, I put the ways of childhood behind me. For now we see only a reflection as in a mirror; then we shall see face to face. Now I know in part; then I shall know fully, even as I am fully known. And now these three remain: faith, hope and love. But the greatest of these is love. 1 Corithians 13:8-13
God bless you and your mother, Susan. What a beautiful photo of your parents; THAT is love, and it is such an example to me. Thanks for sharing.
No words. Just this…..Just Jesus.
Thank you for sharing. I want to be one of those souls too! I will pray for the suffering to be granted to love more in his name!
May your dad rest in peace. May Our Blessed Mother give you and your mom strength and healing.
That is so beautiful, so noteworthy and so profound. Thank you for understanding better how I can do better. God Bless You Always,Linda
So profoundly beautiful… thank you for sharing💕
It glorifies God when someone has one suffering after another and loves and trusts God more and more. Like Job. Thank you.
Boy this hit home. I had been wondering how things were going for you with your Mom. ♥️While my mom is a little behind where you are with your Mom in her memory decline…your post about climbing into bed with her just melted me. I hope, and now feel stronger, that I can do this when the time comes, if it comes. God bless you Susan, your Mom and your whole family. ✝️
God Bless you too
Absolutely echo the sentiments of tunaonfriday. Thank you for writing this Susan. It is such an encouragement to all of us, especially when we are trying to make sense of our crosses. God bless you and your family.
What a beautiful picture Susan. And yes, it was a beautiful service. You are truly graced and it shows.
Love you and your family.
Beautiful picture Susan. Yes, it was a beautiful service. You are truly graced and it shows.
Love you and your family.
Thank you for sharing this. I read it yesterday after having what I call a “failure day” where I lost my patience a few times with a loved one who is demanding (it’s not her fault though) and I felt very badly and repented about it after reading the words you shared from the Lord about your act of love.
Today was a much better day as a result, your story gave me a needed spiritual boost.
God Bless you.
I’m sorry for your loss Susan.
If I have not been in pain, He has not relieved me
If I have not been sad, He has not lifted my heart to heaven
If I have not been reviled, He has not comforted me
If I have not been abandoned, He has not come to me
If I have not been broken, He has not healed me
If I have not been lost, He has not shown me the way
If I have not been in sin, He has not redeemed me
If I have not been without a friend, He has not walked beside me
If I have not mourned, He has not comforted me
If I have not been betrayed, He has not restored me
If I have not been in chains, He has not set me free
If I have not wept, He has not dried my tears
If I have not been in the depths of darkness, He has not brought me into to the light
If I have not suffered, I have not known him
(credit: Dan Burke@Spiritual Direction)
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Dearest Susan, I read your post and wished there was some way I could help you. Then, this came to mind:
A few days back, facing some turbulent times, God placed this quote before me –
Let us take refuge in the Wound of the Sacred Side, like a poor traveler who seeks a safe harbour in which to shelter from the rocks and tempests of this stormy sea of life, for here below we are continually exposed to shipwreck, unless we have the help of our all-wise Pilot. ~ St. Margaret Mary Alacoque
I wish I had learned of this 14 years ago, through the experience of caring for a sick loved one and later, in the wake of grief, because so often, being out there in the relentless pain was too much. I couldn’t understand why God had done what He did and some days, I felt betrayed. It would have helped me so much to have known I could have placed myself in His Wounds. To allow myself to be comforted, to learn to trust and to learn to love better. And most of all, to unite myself with His Wounds, to suffer for Him.
Susan, I’m placing you and your Mom in the Wound of His Sacred Side and I will continue this prayer as long as it is needed. May He grant you everything you need, my friend.
Thank you so much
Sue, prayers for your neighbors west of you that have suffered so much from flooding.
Thank you. Yes there’s a lot of suffering.