The Night of Long Suffering

But Mary stood weeping outside the tomb. As she wept, she bent over to look into the tomb… John 20:11

It’s been awhile since I have written anything so I thought I would update you on my life.

On Friday, May 6, I ruptured a disk in my back lifting my mom into her wheelchair. This was just shortly after I spoke the week before on Radio Maria, USA’s show, Battle Ready with Father Dan Reehil, that I wanted to hold nothing back from God, that I understood suffering purifies us, and I wanted to be purified. I don’t think these things are ever coincidence.

It’s not that God wants us to suffer, because suffering is bad. It’s that God wants us to love Him enough that we are willing to suffer. It’s the love God is looking for – because that kind of love is Christ on the Cross.

Now, when I tell you I have never experienced that level of pain in my whole life, I mean it was a 10+, I can’t think straight level of pain. More pain than childbirth for me. I don’t go to the ER generally ever. I think I have been 3 times in my life, all for life threatening things. But this level of pain – this sent me to the ER crawling in on my hands and knees.

The devil tried to tempt me with thoughts that God didn’t love me. He even tempted me with thoughts of death being better. I sobbed and sobbed and begged God for mercy. It was in this night I gained an understanding of the night of long suffering of Christ. I am talking about the night between Holy Thursday and Good Friday. It was as if I knew all these thoughts were flung at Him and the depth of Jesus’ understanding of all we go through, both physical and mental. Jesus understands those who have thoughts of suicide because of physical and emotional pain. He understands all of our mental anguish. And I was made to understand the unending ocean of mercy he wants to bathe us in. Though Christ wants us to choose love regardless of suffering, He offers His mercy to everyone who is suffering, and we just have to say yes. He always wants us to hold on to hope that His promises are true, because they are, in fact, true. In that space between life and death, lies the mercy of God. I pray that everyone says yes to it and doesn’t lock themselves into hell.

The road to recovery has seemed long to me, though in the scheme of things it is rather short. But needless to say I have been confined to my home again. My doctor would not prescribe narcotic pain medication because so many people get addicted. I admire his stance, but this brought on a lot of physical pain for me. I am not here to debate my doctor’s decision. I will just tell you that this led to nights of excruciating pain where the medications I did have simply didn’t help. I experienced temporary blindness in one eye from one of the medications that was given to me. I cried out to God. Still, I tried to offer all this suffering up and get outside myself to pray for others. That is the goal, to love others and be stripped of ego, I have prayed for this for years.

But I am a failure. By Tuesday, May 17, I was yelling at my husband, crying about my situation, and cursing with words I haven’t used in a long long while, caving in on myself. My husband got me to the chiropractor and I experienced relief. I apologized to Jesus and set out to keep moving forward. There are two paths, stay on the path of prayer and faith and move forward, or fall off the path back to the old ways of living. I am not going backwards. I have experienced the love of God and in these moments where He feels absent to me, I refuse to believe that He is absent. I have faith.

By Sunday the 22nd, I was able to hobble back into Mass. On Monday I made it to confession and Mass. But some things have changed for me which I will now try to explain as best as I can.

Back in 2018, when I was on pilgrimage to Medjugorje, I felt the Lord ask me to receive the Eucharist kneeling. You may remember I had already had a dream and conversation with God about receiving on the tongue. The parish where I work is a Novus Ordo Mass parish. There are no kneelers or altar rails in the line for communion. I listened to what I felt God speak to me, and then I ignored it. I already wore a veil, and received on the tongue, I was afraid of the judgment of man. I mean, how many things was God going to ask me to do? I justified to myself.

Then came the 2020 pandemic. The shutdown broke my heart. When we reopened, I told the Lord I would do whatever He wanted, and I wouldn’t worry about the judgement of man. I received kneeling on the tongue, and I was blessed enough that our Diocese hadn’t banned tongue reception. While we took the prudent measures to protect, this was still allowed. I am externally grateful for that.

I have knelt down ever since. But here I find myself today with a bad back that made kneeling down without an altar rail for support, impossible for me. So like I do, I had a conversation with God about it. I just told the Lord that I wanted Him to know that my receiving standing up wasn’t out of disobedience.

It was as if a lot of things poured over me about the Liturgy and communion and standing and kneeling at that moment of my conversation with God.  I am not sure I understand all of it, or if it is even correct, but I am going to do my best to explain.

The Latin Mass everyone kneels for communion.  This is a posture of humility, of a sinner in front of her Majesty, the King, receiving the gift.  Since I began to be on fire for the Lord, this position of reception has always made sense to me even though I just did whatever the church I went to at the time did until the pandemic. 

What I saw in my prayer during Mass about this, was Mary Magdalene in a heap on her knees at the foot of the cross.  Here she was, a penitent sinner, watching the death of her Lord, perhaps not understanding, but still, at the cross.  Though scripture isn’t clear that Mary Magdalene was kneeling (it says standing were the Blessed Virgin Mary and then lists the other women), tradition has always depicted her this way in the art I have seen, on her knees.   She is contrasted with the Blessed Virgin Mary who is sinless and full of grace, and John who rests in the bosom of Christ and as a Priest is grafted into the Holy Family in a way that others are not.  They both are standing.  

It is only at the empty tomb that we see Mary Magdalene standing, having been through the cross, and now bowing to look for Him at the tomb (John 20:11).  The risen Lord appears to the woman who is standing after having been through the cross.

The new Mass has everyone standing with a bow to receive communion, which, in light of this, to me, is a posture of Resurrection.  The problem with this is, most are still filled with sin, don’t confess, and want Resurrection without going through the cross.  While I understand both positions – one should actually lead to the other.

Acceptance of suffering and total forgiveness takes time in the human heart. For these things to take place, virtue needs to grow. It is these things that convert us into other Christ’s. And it is these things that are desperately missing in the world.

It is a process of being purified. It is as if, while the Blessed Virgin Mary is the archetype of the church and Mother of the Church, Mary Magdalene stands as the purified church. The one whom seven demons had been cast out of.

Now after he rose early on the first day of the week, he appeared first to Mary Magdalene, from whom he had cast out seven demons. Mark 16:9

It is as if the church herself still needs these demons cast out; the demons of pride, envy, lust, gluttony, sloth, wrath, and greed. We find ourselves in a period of history where we are brought to our knees at the cross of purification, so that we may stand in the Resurrection of being purified. I am starting to understand why the Saint of the Year I picked was Mary Magdalene. In scripture she is the first the Lord appears to and she is the apostle to the Apostles. She is a purified bride made for transforming union. She was at the cross with the Mother of God, mediatrix of grace, and a Priest who was given to us to bridge the gap between heaven and earth so we may be purified sacramentally. God heals his family members.

Since the time I began to realize all that God is, I wanted to kneel, knowing I am not worthy that he should enter under my roof.  I cannot at the moment physically do this.  But the Lord was kind and gentle with me at Mass.  I am currently bearing a cross.  I have never felt as more of a failure than right now, and never even more dependent on Him, as I am now, crying most nights for Him and His mercy in the physical pain I am in.  It’s almost as if in my complete helplessness, what does the Lord do?  He stands me up.  Not me, not my merit, not my earning, not anything I have done at all.  A glimmer for me that in helplessness and surrender – Resurrection is on the other side – that I may stand.  It is God who stands us up, we should not be standing ourselves up without Him filling us and guiding us there.  It is a posture of pride to think we can do this on our own without having surrendered to our crosses.  We must stop fighting the cross.

I had actually been praying this whole last year to be able to stand at the cross like the Blessed Virgin Mary.    I was so positive that I was not doing that during this trial.  That all I am and all I can do is fail.  And then I had this moment at Mass – when total reliance on Him is all I can do to make it through, and I stand at communion, as if to signify – He will bring me where I need to go, because I am not my own Savior.  

Lastly, my friend Ashley sent me something about how Saint Margaret Mary offered Jesus His own heart. There was a time I wouldn’t have understood this. But here, in this cross that I bear, I understand. I have decided when I awake in the night to make an act of reparation to His Sacred Heart. Because it is usually dark and I am tired, I just used my own words. I leave you with this prayer;

Lord Jesus, I desire to make reparation for my sins and the sins of mankind that have injured your heart. I give you my own heart, but I know it doesn’t contain enough love, though I desire it to. So, I offer you your own heart, which contains an infinite amount of love, along with my own heart, that the world may be repaired and your heart consoled. In the name of the Father, and of the Son, and of the Holy Spirit. Amen.   

About veilofveronica

I am a mother and wife as well as an RCIA and Adult Faith Formation catechist at a parish in the south. I have 3 children and a great husband.
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22 Responses to The Night of Long Suffering

  1. Beth says:

    A couple of years before Covid hit I asked the Lord to help me understand in my heart that he was present in the Eucharist. As a cradle Catholic I had always believed he was present but only in my head as something I had always been taught but did not understand. I guess you could say it was more out of obedience that I believed, but I knew that was not enough. So I asked, and then I waited. I have leaned all things are done in God’s time, and I knew he would answer me but of course I didn’t know how or when that would be.

    Fast forward to Covid and the churches were shut down, and I was denied access to the Eucharist. It was a difficult time for me as I had been going to Mass most days, and I could feel the devil constantly poking at me. I couldn’t stop his constant chattering in my ear and it was having negative effects on my treatment of my family. I was being unkind. I knew what was happening but I couldn’t stop it. I also knew that I desperately needed and wanted the Eucharist. I knew it would stop this demonic chattering but of course I couldn’t receive it. Confession was still open at my church outside so I went often to try and stop the chattering but it didn’t help. I felt like I was entering a dark tunnel and couldn’t find my way out. It was in this dark state that I began to understand with my heart how Christ is present in the Eucharist and what exactly the Eucharist does for us. It was only though it being taken away that I could begin to truly see.

    Then thankfully the churches were reopened but only 10 people could go. I signed up online and went. I was so excited and I cried the moment I stepped into the church and cried until Mass was over. But there was one moment during the Mass where I felt the Lord’s love wash over me and he finally gave me the grace of truly understanding his presence in the Eucharist. I can’t explain it but in that instant I began to “feel” it. I could finally “see”. I knew he had used the Covid restrictions to prepare me for this moment and at that moment I also knew that there was no going back for me. I now had a new responsibility. I knew communion in the hand and standing was no longer an option. Because for me it was no longer the priest standing there holding the Eucharist but Christ himself standing there. And how could I not kneel before my Lord?

    This new found responsibility has not been easy. I am fortunate that my local churches and Bishop did not deny communion on the tongue during Covid but so many others have and I decided to refrain from taking communion at all if I cannot take it on the tongue. I deem my hands to be unworthy of touching my Lord. I believe only the consecrated hands of a priest should ever touch the Lord. Maybe that is wrong. I don’t know. But I have told the Lord I am denying myself of him in these instances out of love and obedience to this new found truth he has instilled in my heart. It is not out of pride. Because that is the truth. I just love him so much.

    • That’s so totally beautiful. I also had decided if I couldn’t receive on the tongue I would refrain because I didn’t want any particle of our Lord to be dropped and defiled.
      Praise God in all things.

    • Butterfly J says:

      That is very beautiful. I have also started taking Communion on the tongue again following Covid.

      Your comment reminded me that once our church opened after 2 months of Covid lockdown and TV Mass, I told the children we were going to Church (on our designated day, as we had to sign-up on a rotation). My 4 year old looked at me and said “which church? This one (pointed at the TV) or that one (pointed in general direction of the physical church)”.

      I had an instant revulsion toward TV church and at that moment I vowed I would never watch Mass on TV again. I asked our good and holy priest about alternatives to TV church, and will do those should we have to stay home on Sunday ever again.

  2. sheralyn80 says:

    Beautiful! May God bless you! If you are so inclined, you might try Arnica 1M for your pain. It’s a homeopathic medicine, you can get it on Amazon. It’s great for injuries.

  3. Kary says:

    In the summer of 2020 the L5 vertebrae in my husband‘s back cracked open. For nine months he dealt with pain off and on until finally in May 2021 the break got bigger and the nerves exposed. He had a 360° spinal fusion June 29, the feast of Saint Peter and Paul in 2021.

    The last 11 months have been extraordinarily difficult for him. we have calculated he has spent the last three months out of the last nine months laying flat on his back staring at the ceiling as he could not move in any direction. It has transformed our family but thank God we have relied heavily on our faith to stay hopeful and serve one other. I’m
    exhausted in all fronts taking care of the home and our child, but so many graces and so much fruit has emerged from
    This long trial. I reminded my teenager that it’s the supernatural grace from
    The Sacrament of Holy Matrimony that helps us as well, and the Sacrament of The Sick my husband received prior to surgery. I cannot tell you how many times I’ve told God I am not strong enough to do this… to watch my husband suffer like this, and myself to work to exhaustion daily. But God has a plan for all of us. Some beautiful plan.

    We were just talking at the dinner table last night and my husband shared with us all the spiritual and emotional revelations he’s realized suffering like this. Your blog post was timely. Thank you for sharing.

  4. Betty Zinke says:

    I pray your healing has progressed, and that which God has pruned has brought abundant growth and fruitfulness in your spiritual journey.

    The times you are/have been unable to kneel for Communion is indeed a suffering. God only knows how many graces will be born of that, not just for yourself but for your loved ones too: maybe today, maybe tomorrow, or at the moment of passing from this earthy pilgrimage.

    I know it would be very hard for me to receive my Eucharistic Lord standing up. I have been a parishioner at Saint Anne, an FSSP Traditional Latin Mass parish for years now, but I still vividly remember the first time I went there and knelt for Communion. I remember that I felt small – like a child – and I imagine that God was pleased. Also, I too will only receive Communion on the tongue for the reasons you noted and can’t imagine going to Mass without my veil.

    God bless you and yours.

  5. Catherine Elizabeth says:

    Since remote/TV Mass was discussed in the comments, may I ask your opinion on the following:
    – I used to watch Mass to hear the readings and the Homily in preparation for daily (in-person) Mass, but would turn it off at the start of the Liturgy of the Eucharist as I found it very uncomfortable to participate that way. Now I worry that perhaps I was “using” the Mass when I did so; though I acted this way to show respect, I fear I was actually being disrespectful;
    – many “faithful” Catholic organizations have been offering online Adoration since shutdown. I personally am not drawn to this at all, but I was wondering what you thought.
    Thank you again for your thoughtful and inspired writing. I pray for your rapid recovery and for a blessed Pentecost.

    • I personally don’t think you were “using the Mass”. Mostly because virtual Mass isn’t the real Mass and you were preparing for real Mass. However, when it comes to interior disposition and discernment of sinfulness of something you have done, it’s important to note how this “worry you were disrespectful” came to you in your interior. Was it a quiet conviction not to do that anymore? or was it a condemnation that you have been terrible and irreverent? One voice is the Holy Spirit, who quietly and lovingly convicts, but doesn’t harm. The other is Satan who condemns and accuses. Only you cam know how that voice spoke to you. If it’s the former, then go to confession and resolve not to do it again. If it’s the latter, claim the name of Jesus Christ and rebuke to spirit of scrupulousness sending it to the foot of the cross to be judged.

  6. Ginny says:

    That was not only beautiful, you opened your heart up to complete strangers, and shared about how much you love and want to please our dear Lord in everything you do. Thank you for sharing.
    Our parish has kneelers to receive the Eucharistic. However, my son’s parish has no kneelers, so when we attend Mass at his church, we have to stand,
    .God knows the reasons, I’m at peace. I hope you can accept that you cannot kneel right now, through God’s Grace.

    • Geminiano says:

      „…so when we attend Mass at his church, we have to stand…”

      The standing posture while receiving Holy Communion is a direct reference to the Passover meal when the Israelites were about to leave Egypt. Our Lord gives us a sign to be ready to leave the church that has entered apostasy.
      [Rev 18:4]: “ ‘Come out of her, my people,’
      so that you will not share in her sins,
      so that you will not receive any of her plagues…”

  7. itaca123 says:

    Thank you. Your thoughts always humble me and bring tears to my eyes.

  8. James Ignatius McAuley says:

    Sue, I am praying for a holy, healthy, and happy recovery for you and the appropriate graces to descend upon your husband, mother, and children.
    This is a very good piece thank you for posting it.

  9. Pingback: Into the Darkness to be a Great Light | Veil of Veronica

  10. Renee Morimoto says:

    Hi Veil of Veronica,
    I somehow happened upon your blog today. Truly a grace from God. I too had a back out with an extremely high level of pain and had to crawl around to get anywhere. Well as it so happened, I was referred to physical therapy and that helped me immensely. With that and the prayers of many people, I am doing much better.. At first I thought it would be a waste of time since i could neither stand nor sit, but it helped out after all. I am with you on kneeling and receiving on the tongue. God bless and protect you always.

    Sincerely,
    Renée Morimoto

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