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  • Sarah Raad

Surgery

Our Blessed Mother accepted the sinners that killed her Holy Son – God Himself – it really does not seem a fair trade…

Simeon's Prophesy to Mary (Rembrandt)

Finally – after what feels like a terribly long wait – but that was in fact only a few short months – I have been given the date for some serious (but not life threatening) surgery that was delayed due to the various government restrictions that were designed to manage the COVID-19 pandemic.


I have been reflecting on this upcoming surgery because I have never had such surgery before and being partly an exploratory surgery, there are many unknowns for me going into this procedure…


My surgeons tell me that they cannot verify how long the duration of the surgery will be, or exactly how much relief the surgery will provide. Neither can I be told exactly what will occur during the surgery – the extent of the intervention shall depend on the extent of the illness and the surgeons’ professional decisions that day. This means that I do not really have any idea how protracted my recovery will be and can make no concrete plans about my life until after that day… And this also means that I do not know how painful things will be for me until the moment I wake up afterwards…


There is something frightening about the unknown – almost like the fear of death – because since the fall of mankind, we have lost our vision of God and thus our vision of faith... And as I was reflecting on this, it occurred to me that there was someone far superior to me, who endured the unknown for far longer than a few short months…


Your see, when Our Lady and Saint Joseph presented Christ at the Temple after His birth, Simeon gave his prophesy…

“Then Simeon blessed them, and he said to Mary, the Baby’s mother, ‘This Child is destined to cause many in Israel to fall, and many others to rise. He has been sent as a sign from God, but many will oppose Him. As a result, the deepest thoughts of many hearts will be revealed. And a sword will pierce your very soul.’” (Luke 2:34-35).

And then – after hearing such words – Our Blessed Mother left and continued with her life for decades, patiently, lovingly, gently… Waiting for the sword…


I have been reflecting on this action of faith – for it takes great faith to TRUST in God when one knows that there will one day be a blow…


With the surgery planned for me – after a little pain – there will surely (God willing) be some improvement in my quality of life. For Our Lady – though she did not have surgery – she too anticipated pain, and it was far far greater pain than I could ever imagine. For Our Blessed Mother gave her whole life so that she could be present in that moment at the Foot of the Cross, when her Beloved Son said to her, “Woman, Behold Your Son…” (John 19:26-27). And the pain in ACCEPTING AS HER CHILDREN WE SINNERS WHO CRUCIFIED GOD must surely have been more painful than any sword that could pierce her Blessed Heart…


And yet, just as my upcoming surgery is supposed to make things better, so too did the PAIN of Our Blessed Mother make things better! The difference between my surgery and Our Lady’s pain is that the pain caused by my surgery helps ME, but the pain that Our Lady endures helps OTHERS…


And yet for both of us there is some trust involved in the process. You see, I am trusting the surgeons with my care as Our Blessed Mother trusted God Himself – the Divine Surgeon – to do what was necessary…


But before there is trust there is first investigation... In my case – to prepare for this surgery – I visited many different surgeons to learn about my condition and to understand how best to treat and manage it and what surgical options were available to me. For Our Blessed Mother, preparation did not involve “shopping around” for a surgeon, it involved prayer and sacrifice to prepare herself for the pain that would come and in this way, Our Blessed Mother was able to become ready for the tasks asked of her by God…


And, in reflecting on this, and waiting for the pain that is to come, I wonder if I dare ask to borrow the sacred heart of my Blessed Mother – for only such a heart pierced by a sword – could ever understand how to live a life of faith…


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

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