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Frailty

Our frailty is nothing, because God holds us in the Palm of His Holy Hand!

Father Ragheed Ganni

In Shakespeare’s famous tragic play, “Hamlet”, the tragic hero, Hamlet, famously proclaims, “frailty thy name is woman!” In this play the character is referring to what he perceives as his mother’s frailty (or disloyalty) in choosing to remarry so quickly after the murder of his father and especially for unwittingly choosing to marry her deceased husband’s murderer.


These days, when I think of frailty, I think of physical frailty more than any other kind. You see, human beings are very frail creatures. It does not take much for us to die – or to “shuffle off this mortal coil” as Hamlet was wont to say…


You see, a while ago I read the story of a young man, a priest, Father Ragheed Ganni, who was born in a small town on the Plain of Ninevah in Iraq in 1972. He travelled to Rome in 1996 and studied theology there until 2003 and upon his ordination to the priesthood, Father Ragheed decided to return to Iraq – despite the persecutions of the Christians there – to undertake his vocation as a priest.


Father Ragheed was a brave man!

He worked in his parish of Mosul in Iraq for a number of years. And during that time, he received many threats against him and against his ministry there. His church was blown up. His home was also blown up. Eventually he was forced to offer the sacrifice of the Holy Mass in a basement. Then, on 3 June 2007, a group of armed men confronted Father Ragheed after Mass and asked him why he had not closed the church yet despite all the threats against him. Father Ragheed replied, “How can I close the house of God?”

Those were his last words. He was shot and killed in retaliation for such a reply. Father Ragheed – martyr of the Catholic Church – was only 35 years old when he was killed. All it took was a bullet – or perhaps two – a little bit of lead shot out of a gun and a young life was taken away and a priest was taken away.


When I hear a story such as this, I am confronted with the overwhelming magnificence of our utter frailty as humans. We humans who act as though we are so God-like – because we are made in His Image – are so frail that a bit of metal, or an opening in our skin, or a clot in our blood, or an infection with a microscopic bug, or some cells growing in the wrong spot in our body, will end our earthly life.


And in the case of this young man – such little things can end our life, quickly, painfully and without warning.


And yet – nothing is lost that is not found in God… And chosen souls – like that of Father Ragheed – understand this truth in a deeply profound way.


You see, once, Father Ragheed wrote, “There are days when I feel frail and full of fear. But when, holding the Eucharist, I say, ‘Behold the Lamb of God, who takes away the sin of the world,’ I feel His strength in me. When I hold the Host in my hands, it is really He who is holding me and all of us, challenging the terrorists and keeping us all united in His boundless love.”


For he understood his own frailty, but – more than that – he understood that his frailty was nothing, because God holds him in the palm of His Holy Hand!


And how I thank God for that! How I thank God…


For with prayer, I stand on Holy Ground where everything is clear. Here. At the Foot of the Cross.

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