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  • Sarah Raad

Degradation

How could we ever be ashamed of He who saves us?


Blood and Water from the Side of Christ

Over the last few days, I have been praying intently for those who are sick, particularly those who are sick with cancer. These people with this battle come to mind often during my day and I am drawn to pray for them in thought, word and deed. As usual, once my prayers for one intention begin, I am quick to extend them – praying for those recovered, and those who have gone before me to Paradise.


This brings my mind back to the Lost Souls of Purgatory, and as I pray for them, I recall my old prayers for my beautiful baby niece who was so ill last year… For her I asked the Lost Souls released into Heaven to join with us in praying so that it would please God and He would heal her.


To achieve this end – the healing of my beautiful niece – I asked the world to pray with me, not because of my holiness… but because I am NOT holy enough!


I am no great saint, whose prayers could be sufficient to please God. My prayers – like me – are weak. I am like a baby muttering her first words – I make no sense – but my Beloved Father listens to my silly babble anyway, and because He loves me so infinitely, even this muttered unintelligible nonsense gives Him pleasure, for in any case, He understands my intention before I even speak.


And so – with humility – I offer God not only my prayers, but yours, too. Even if they last a mere moment any prayer offered is a chance to replace an offence to God – a sin – with fruitful adoration of Him!


This mission to prayer – mine and yours – did not come naturally to me. Never before have I openly professed my faith. Never before have I called others to pray. In the past, I have prayed inside the silence of my soul, even in Mass I utter the responses quietly in my mind, rarely moving my lips.


Now, something has changed in me…


Last week, my children had a sporting event at school, and due to the easing of COVID restrictions, I was able to attend. It was the first time that I have really been in physical contact with many of the people who I had asked to join me in praying for my beautiful niece since she was ill.


I was a little embarrassed – having prostrated myself so publicly at the Foot of the Cross – to make small talk about the groceries while we watched the children run.

After all, it is one thing to ADORE my Beloved in the secret of my soul, and quite another to PUBLICLY proclaim my adoration of Him, whom I love.

I have reflected very intently on these feelings of awkward embarrassment over these last few days of this week, unable to find a satisfactory answer for my unease. There is only one thing of which I am sure, and that is that I would do it all again and again and again as often as required to call others to pray with me for that little girl.


But still, no answers… Nothing at all…


And then, suddenly, yesterday, after receiving the Blessed Sacrament during Mass, it occurred to me – like a smack in the face – that this feeling of discomfort, this feeling of embarrassment is complete and utter nonsense!


During Holy Communion in meditating upon the Passion of Our Blessed Lord and reflecting on His almost naked form hanging on the Cross behind the altar, it occurred to me that any feeling of embarrassment from me is a farce when compared with the complete and utter DEGREDATION of God Himself on the Cross.


Christ gave Himself to us even unto the last drop of His precious Blood – so that when His Sacred Side was defiled and pierced with the spear, it was WATER that came out with the blood. What could possibly compare with the complete and utter DEGREDATION of offering us EVERYTHING of Himself – even until the last drop of His precious blood – only to be rejected by us over and over and over again?


You see, Christ was not only rejected by Saint Simon Peter three times before the cock crowed. I reject Him interminably during my life. I rejected Him last week through my discomfort! I rejected Him today through my impatience. I shall reject Him tomorrow through my anger.


Every. Single. Time I choose to sin rather than hold firm to Him, I reject His COMPLETE AND PERFECT AND ETERNAL offering of ALL OF HIMSELF – not only on the Cross two thousand years ago, but on the altar every day in the Blessed Sacrament.

I reject Him so often, that though I am starving for my Beloved, I mistake my hunger pains for something else - I no longer feel the pangs…

How terrible is that to contemplate!


Saint Charbel Maklouf told us to… “Be monks in the midst of the world, even if you do not wear the habit. Be saints so as to sanctify the earth.”


Powerful words from a powerful saint!


These words berate me quietly as do the words of others… “Hell is paved with sins of omission.” (Saint Josemaria Escriva)


A useful reminder – my silence can sometimes be a sin too…


I shall have to remember that the next time I cringe a little inwardly before I proudly proclaim my faith…


For with prayers to my Beloved, everything is clear. Here. At the Foot of the Cross.

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