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  • Sarah Raad

Kisses

If only I had the wisdom, not to see ghosts, but to feel the LOVE of God!

The Storm on the Sea of Galilee (Rembrandt)

Today, though my own cross is not unbearably heavy, I walk beside others whose cross is far heavier than mine. All those years of complaining about the weight of my own cross, shame me as I stand beside these spiritual martyrs. I have often, in the past, spoken of these suffering, heart-broken few as spiritual martyrs because they consented to God’s will, publicly proclaiming His Glory, even wile surrendering their dear, beloved little Saint Baby Charbel into His eternal and infinitely merciful and loving care.


Today, that little saint, who so many of you joined me in praying for during his final days, would have turned one year old. Today is his mortal birthday, just as the 1st of November – All Saints Day – is his eternal one…


My children and I went to Mass today to pray for the family of this beautiful little saint today, and you will never guess what the first reading in Mass today was about…


It was a reading about Saint Stephen – the first martyr of the Catholic Church…


“Stephen was filled with grace and power and began to work miracles and great signs among the people. … Having in this way turned the people against him as well as the elders and scribes, they took Stephen by surprise, and arrested him and brought him before the Sanhedrin. … The members of the Sanhedrin all looked intently at Stephen, and his face appeared to them like the face of an angel.” (Acts 6:8-15).


I do not consider this a coincidence, as I have long ago stopped believing in such things…

How beautiful is this description by Saint Luke of Saint Stephen during the actions of his persecution and martyrdom… How beautiful are those people who mourn, gracefully surrendering to the Will of God…

The saints, like Saint Little Baby Charbel who commended his spirit to God so beautifully, and like Saint Stephen, set such a beautiful example for us, and we are so very lucky to have them.


Saint Therese of the Infant Jesus said… “The greatest honour God can give a soul, is not to give it much, but to ask much of it.”


And yet, this divine asking of God is particularly terrifying to us, because it demands such a generosity of spirit that it is impossible to achieve such a thing without the divine intervention of the Holy Spirit.


And yet, I look at these heartbroken and suffering few. I watch them as they walk towards Calvary bearing their Cross. I sit beside them on the road and pray quietly in the back of my mind while I wait for them to have the strength to get up and carry their cross again. I cannot help them to carry it – for God has given me my own – but I will not leave them alone with this burden. I will walk beside them and help them to lift it up when it is too heavy, and they are too beaten to move. I will not leave them alone. When I cannot be with them in person, I will send my prayers to comfort them instead. Please send them yours too!


The beautiful mystic, Saint Bernadette Soubirous, who saw visions of the Blessed Virgin at Lourdes and died at the age of 35 said, “I shall do everything for HEAVEN, my True Home. There I shall find my Mother in all the splendour of Her glory. I shall delight with Her in the JOY OF JESUS, HIMSELF in Perfect Safety.”


And we have help to get there – to that place of “Perfect Safety” that Saint Bernadette tells us about. But this help does not always appear to us in the way that we wish for it to come.


The other day during Mass, I listened to the Gospel where Christ appeared to the disciples after His resurrection, walking across the water to help them during the storm… “Shortly before dawn Jesus went out to them, walking on the lake. When the disciples saw Him walking on the lake, they were terrified. ‘It’s a ghost,’ they said, and cried out in fear.” (Matthew 14:25-26).


Christ, walking across the water during this storm, was not the sort of help the disciples were expecting to see. Did they run to their Beloved, seeing Him standing there, and embrace Him?


No.


They did what I do every single day… They became afraid. And their fear thwarted their eyes, and instead of recognising the beloved Face of their Saviour in the help that He provided to them, they imagined that they saw a ghost…

Today, all the heartbroken in the world, are watching the Messiah on the water – but most of us are seeing ghosts.

Saint Mother Teresa of Calcutta said very beautifully… “Pain and suffering have come into your life, but remember pain, sorrow, suffering are but the kiss of Jesus – a sign that you have come so close to Him that He can kiss you.”


Today, I want the scales removed from my eyes, as they were for the blind man…


Today – while I pray for these Blessed Few, who are leading us along the Road to Calvary – instead of imagining a distant ghost, I wish to feel the tender loving Kiss of God!


And then, perhaps – by Grace and no merit of my own – I shall be able to dance along with way to Calvary, with these holy few, who bear their larger Cross.


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

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