• Sarah Raad


If only I could explain to you how great God’s love is for us. And yet, I shall never be able to explain even a fraction of His love – not even until my dying breath.

The Intercession of Christ and the Virgin (Lorenzo Monaco - Piero di Giovanni)

I have been praying for all the dearly departed souls – the Lost Souls of Purgatory dwell most significantly in my mind. How much my soul yearns for them to see Paradise. At times I think to myself, if only I could drag all the resisting and unwilling souls to Heaven through strength of my sheer determination – I would do it. And yet, I have no power. I have no strength. I am the weakest and most unworthy of all sinners. I have not even the power to get myself to Heaven – I must rely on God for that…

After the passing of my dear Aunt Farida, my uncle, her husband, told my father that he was a pillar of strength for the family.

It occurred to me that the strength that his older brother perceived in my dad was not human endurance – for we humans are weak – it was divine.

Saint Padre Pio famously said, “Pray, hope and don’t worry.” In my father, his brother saw some reflection of this.

Some time ago, I found a beautifully moving reworded reference to Psalm 73:26 that I have not been able to forget…

“Strong? No, my friend. Far from it. What you are seeing is a WEAK person with a STRONG God.”

I attended Mass this morning as usual, for despite the various irksome restrictions due to the COVID19 pandemic I am fortunate enough to attend Mass on most days.

And yet, this morning, during the moment of Transubstantiation – when the Chalice containing the Body and Blood of Christ, GOD HIMSELF, was lifted high above the altar in the Priests hands – my eyes suddenly filled with tears. In a blinding flash of light it occurred to me that though the world is enduring a very challenging time – perhaps the most challenging for many in recent history – we are surely the luckiest Catholics that have ever been born!

Saint Therese of the Child Jesus, who lived only a little over 100 years ago, wrote in her autobiography, “Story of a Soul” of her longing to be granted the PRIVILEGE of receiving Christ in the Eucharist by the favour and determination of her confessor.

These days, Catholics like me can simply rock up at the local parish (often late). And, after attending at least a portion of the Mass in an often terribly distracted fashion (watching the cracks in the ceiling or the tears in the carpet or the clothes of the people sitting in front of me) I can trudge up to the altar any which way to receive the actual BOCY AND BLOOD OF THE LIVING GOD!

Less than 100 years ago, the Eucharist was restricted. God – Christ Crucified and Risen from the Dead in the Blessed Sacrament – was held aloft by the clergy during a Latin Mass, which was completely incomprehensible for many. People required approval in many cases to receive the Sacrament of the Eucharist, and sacraments like the Anointing of the Sick and the Last Rites were bestowed cautiously by the clergy rather than generously.

Do you have any idea how lucky I am right here, right now – despite everything?

I can go to any Church on any day of the week – for the most part even despite current restrictions – and open my mouth without very much thought at all, to receive into my most sinful and unworthy soul… GOD HIMSELF!

I am no saint and yet, through the infinite PROVIDENCE of God, I have more opportunity to receive the sacraments than Saint Therese of the Child Jesus (and most of the other Saints who came before me) did!

I wish to could express the substance of my tears of joy at this realisation. These tears are now so multitudinous that I fear they will continue all the days of my Earthly life and fill all the oceans of all the world.

“For God so loved the world that He gave His one and only Son, that whoever believes in Him shall not perish but have eternal life.” (John 3:16).

I just wish I had some skill with words to express how great that love must be.

And yet, since I do not, I shall rely on the words of Saint Paul in his letter to the Romans…

“For while we were still helpless, at the right time Christ died for the ungodly. For one will hardly die for a righteous man; though perhaps for the good man someone would dare even to die. But God demonstrates His own love toward us, in that while we were yet sinners, Christ died for us.” (Romans 6-8). And His death not only reconciled us to God – but REDEEMED us.

Who am I to ask God for anything now? He has already provided me with EVERYTHING.

I must not ASK – I must only THANK.

I must thank Him for creating my soul, protecting it and redeeming it, so that I might live with Him for all eternity in Heaven.

And so, I shall thank God – with tears of joy running down my cheeks – from now until the very end of my Earthly life...

For with tears of joy I am finally grateful and everything is clear. Here. At the Foot of the Cross.

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