Sunday, November 22, 2015

SHARING IN SUFFERING

When my husband had been gone for over two years, I went through a new period of loneliness.  It was different than when he first died, when it was sharp, and would stab me at unexpected times.  Suddenly, it seemed as if the rest of the world walked by in couples, and I struggled on alone.  Our parish began to offer a date night for married couples, and I thought somewhat bitterly that it had never been around when my husband and I could have gone to it.  Without my husband, our home, which was built to house ten people (the two of us, our six children and my parents), at times seemed to threaten to swallow me up, even with my son helping and a gardener doing most of the work outside.  

One morning, as I was praying the Morning Offering, I realized that here was an opportunity to offer up my loneliness especially for our bishops--and one in particular who had worked with us in Worldwide Marriage Encounter. They, along with our priests, have chosen a life of celibacy that includes loneliness.  I didn't choose such a life, but after a very happy married life, that is the path I now walk, and I can choose to walk it in company with them.

In addition, I can walk it in company with those who struggle with same sex attraction and who are also called to a life of celibacy.  I hadn't thought about their situation very much except when friends shared their journey of heartbreak over family members who experience same sex attraction.  When one of my daughters sent me a link to an insightful video ( http://www.blackstonefilms.org/thethirdway/ )that enabled me to relate to them as my brothers and sisters, I was pierced to the heart and felt called to reach out to them in prayer as well.  I didn't choose to be a widow any more than they chose same sex attraction.  We can carry our crosses in the footsteps of the One who carried the cross that ultimately can set us all free.

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