Tuesday, November 12, 2013

Bullied by Pain

I had forgotten the pain of a migraine.  Not having endured this particular trial for a number of years, I was surprised to be blindsided by one on Sunday.  Oh my, thought I, no wonder these miserable things send people crawling to their beds!  When the headache came back the next day, and with more force, I felt helpless and "bullied" by pain.  The prayer and writing and projects I'd planned for myself were all abandoned, and all I could do was sit very, very still and hand myself over to God. 

I didn't like this situation; I would not have chosen it.  But it presented an opportunity.  I could decide to offer the pain itself as prayer.  I thought about the crown of thorns pressing into the head of Jesus.  I thought of babies being torn from wombs, and of what happens to their tiny skulls during such procedures.  I thought of the unspeakable agony now being suffered by people in the Philippines.  I could offer the hammering in my head as prayer of intercession.

"When I began to make the Holy Hour," wrote St. Faustina, "my physical sufferings intensified, so that I was not able to pray... Jesus said to me 'My daughter, know that if I allow you to feel and have a more profound knowledge of My sufferings, that is a grace from Me.  But when your mind is dimmed and your sufferings are great, it is then that you take an active part in my Passion, and I am conforming you more fully to Myself.  It is your task to submit yourself to My will at such times, more than at others.."  (Diary, Divine Mercy in My Soul, Marians of the Immaculate Conception, Stockbridge, 1996, p. 600)

I write this with a hint of pain again brewing.  I sincerely hope it remains no more than a "hint."  But if things unfold in a different direction, I pray to submit myself fully to the will of God.  I pray to be up to the task. 

Painting:  Richard E. Miller, Reverie, 1915