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  • Sarah Raad

Dignity

If we can wait with silent dignity and patience we can be dignified in the presence of God.

Saint Mary Magdalene at the Tomb

I pray most fervently today for those who wait.


There are those who are ill and waiting to get well. There are those who are young and waiting for the adventure of their life to start. There are those who are old and waiting for the adventure of their Earthly life to end. There are people waiting to be parents and children waiting for peace in their homes. And of course, there are the Lost Souls in Purgatory who are awaiting our prayers to sanctify them so that they can enter into Eternal Salvation.


My dear beautiful Aunt Farida is right now waiting for her Earthly life to come to an end. Unconscious and silent in her hospital bed there seems little dignity here.


And yet, it occurs to me that in this twilight between life and death, between the temporal and eternal, in a small white sterile room in a hospital on the other side of town, where the angels and the saints surround her bed to prepare her for salvation – we stand on Holy Ground.

The great saints – all of them – were dignified in awaiting the God’s Will.

How many times have we heard that a saint wished to change something of the order or timing of their lives rather than work to accept it instead?


Saint Joseph made decisions silently to act in one way or another, and then humbly changed his mind based on the information provided by angels in his DREAMS. Sacred Scripture and religious texts are otherwise silent on the thoughts, words or deeds of this greatest of Saints, who physically lived with God Himself. They are silent because he was! Saint Joseph listened to God and silenced his complaints to abide by God’s Will.


Saint Therese of the Child Jesus tirelessly pursued her vocation as a Carmelite and though it pained her to have to wait even a few months to become a Bride of Christ, she was granted the wisdom to acknowledge God’s Will in every delay. She wrote in her autobiography, “Story of a Soul”, that she would use every delay to prepare a perfect spiritual wedding dress for her fiancé, who is God, through her “little way” in doing good deeds, so that when she did enter the convent and later take her final vows, she would honour God as a worthy bride. And yet, the waiting was painful to one wishing to join her beloved more securely.


The twelve disciples were largely uneducated men, who were rejected by the religious institutions of their time as being inferior or immoral and therefore utterly useless to God in matters of theology and faith. Most of these men were not even craftsmen who had studied a trade, but rather simple fishermen or labourers who were destined to live small and insignificant lives without dignity or power. And yet, their silent patience in accepting the Will of God and following Christ without delay –“As Jesus went on from there, he saw a man named Matthew sitting at the tax collector's booth. ‘Follow me,’ he told him, and Matthew got up and followed him.” (Matthew 9:9) – means that their names are shouted, spoken, whispered and petitioned with DIGNITY for all eternity.


Our Lady was not at the Last Supper when the Eucharist was instituted. In fact, Our Lady spent much of her life waiting outside in silence. When Christ travelled to the region of Tyre, which is in modern Lebanon, Our Lady – being a Jewish woman – was unable to enter the Gentile town where Christ stayed and preached. Instead, she waited in silence outside the town until God was ready for her to join Him again.


That was not the only time Our Blessed Mother waited. She waited for most of her life!


Our Lady waited patiently and humbly for three days with FAITH for her beloved Son to rise from the dead.


Then, on the third day, God gave her further opportunity for humility! It was not His perfect Blessed Mother, who is without sin and the handmaid of the Lord who met the risen Lord outside His tomb. It was Saint Mary Magdalene – a reformed sinner – and the other women, who discovered the Risen Lord!

Saint Mary Magdalene is the best of US – the best of all of us sinners who have repented and reformed! It was US! We discovered Christ – though we did not merit this dignity!

Our Lady – for love of us – silently endured the indignity of seeing OUR sinful and unworthy souls discover her risen Son first because it was God’s Will – “I have not come to call the righteous, but sinners to repentance.” (Luke 5:32).


Not once do we hear of Our Blessed Mother’s words or actions regarding this or any other of the apparent indignities she endured. In fact, the Gospels are largely silent about Our Lady during most of Christ’s mission and following His resurrection.


And yet, in reflecting on these small anecdotes in the lives of the saints and Our Blessed Mother, it occurs to me, that God speaks to us as clearly in the silence as it is in the sound!


If we – like them – can choose to wait for God’s will in silence, perhaps we too can be dignified in the presence of God for all eternity, though we merit it not!


And after all, isn’t that – being with God – what all of this is really all about anyway?


For with silence, everything is clear. Here. At the Foot of the Cross.

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