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  • Sarah Raad

Waste

“When you have nothing left but God, you have more than enough to start over again.” (Saint Mother Teresa of Calcutta).

Blessed Engelmar Unzeitig (The Angel of Dachau)

The other day, while my children were alone in the car with me, we got to speaking about babies. Now, my children are quite young and though they understand that I have recently had some very significant surgery, they did not quite understand the implications of that surgery. And so, while we were travelling in our car together, my children asked me whether it was likely that I would have any more biological children.


Now, I am a teacher at heart – and much to the disgust of some of my siblings – I have always responded very directly and rather explicitly to questions of this nature with my children. And so, in this instance too, I responded very explicitly and directly to my children telling them that since having this surgery, it is physically impossible for me to have another child.


After a few questions from my older son to clarify and confirm the finality of this information, his younger brother said, “Seriously Mum? Do you know how many candles I have wasted praying for a sibling?”


It was a funny and utterly heartbreaking thing to hear this child say – because it showed me that just as I had prayed with all my heart for another soul to love, so too had my children – though they had been less eloquent in expressing their desire!


And I have been reflecting on the “waste” that my son spoke about that day.


You see, we – my children and I – had prayed very hard and for many years for the joy of another child. And all of us – my children and I – were heartbroken to know that such a prayer would never be answered in the ways that we had wished.


But I wonder if there really was any “waste” in those prayers?

You see, God is perfectly GOOD and perfect GOODNESS can turn ALL THINGS to the GOOD. And that means that if our prayers are answered and we receive the thing for which we pray, it is GOOD, and it also means that if our prayers are NOT answered and we do not receive the thing for which we pray, those WASTED prayers are also GOOD…

So, what – we may ask – is the point of wasting prayers for things that shall never be received? Surely – we may ask – would it not be better refrain from praying at all?


And I have been reflecting on those questions too…


You see, with a PERFECTLY GOOD GOD, how could there ever be anything bad, like waste?


I can only conclude that there could not…


For I can see something of my Beloved in this experience of prayer. You see, I can imagine Him listening to the prayers of our souls and – knowing that our prayers would NOT be answered as we had wished – I can see how much more we were endeared to God. I can see how much more kindly and compassionately my Beloved looked at us and dealt with us as He felt our confusion and our pain...


For my Beloved is my Father, my Dad, my Daddy. And He loves me – and my children – so much more than any earthly father ever could, and He loves me more than I could ever understand... And He listened to the cries of our hearts for years and years and years, and – knowing what would be – He loved us even more and held us even closer to shield us from the pain.


Our prayers to His most Sacred Heart surely invoked such an infinite abyss of mercy and pity and love that our misery was consumed in Him.


And how closely He held us then – while we struggled against His INFINITE Power. And how closely He holds us now – while we surrender to His INFINITE Will.


And knowing that He holds us – even after everything – there is a certain indescribable JOY… For I know that He does ALL THINGS for me… And I love Him for that… I love Him – even through my tears.


For love is more than words, we prove love through action…


The man known as the “Angel of Dachau” was a Catholic priest who we call Blessed Engelmar Unzeitig. Blessed Engelmar Unzeitig was sent to a Nazi concentration camp during World War II. There, he volunteered to care for prisoners infected with typhus and eventually caught the illness himself and died of it. Before he died, he wrote to his sister, “God’s almighty grace helps us overcome obstacles... Love doubles our strength, makes us inventive, makes us feel content and inwardly free. If people would only realise what God has in store for those who love Him!”

And that realisation – that is the JOY that I feel today – even holding the shattered threads of my dreams in my hands…

And so now, as I consider the words of my son about “waste”, I connect them with the words of Saint Mother Teresa of Calcutta, who said, “When you have nothing left but God, you have more than enough to start over again.”


And as I reflect on “starting over” with a new dream, I feel that perhaps what my human eyes once perceived as “waste” was really just a cleansing – a preparation… For my Beloved ACTED to prepare me for the answer to my prayers – and He did this with INFINITE LOVE AND COMPASSION AND MERCY, because the answer to my prayers was not really the answer that I wanted to hear…


And how I love my Beloved for that… How I love Him…


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

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