The author of the Letter to the Hebrews (5:14) tells us that “we do not have a high priest who is unable to sympathize with our weaknesses, but we have one who in every respect has been tested as we are, yet without sin.” “Without sin” means without anything unloving. Jesus understands our struggles and our pain and, because full of love, Jesus is not hindered in any way from encountering us therein. If so, Jesus can shine through another person’s suffering and touch others. Such is the mystery of His Passion.
I recall Patrick. We lived in community, in Brussels, for three years, l’Arche, whose mission is chosen family life with persons who are mentally challenged. Patrick struggled tremendously with cerebral palsy. He was unable to take care of himself, and I had the privilege of helping him: to eat, to bath, to accomplish various tasks. He had great faith (and a great sense of humor!). He taught me about great faith and patience and presence and the primacy of inner beauty. In the end, he helped me probably more than I was able to help him. He taught me many things.
There were days of real discouragement for him, days when God seemed far away, as he felt trapped in a body that would not respond to the promptings of his mind and will. From my vantage point, on days when my faith better informed the eyes of my heart, while in no way wishing to diminish Patrick’s struggle and the unfairness of his situation, I could “see” God shine through Patrick. And, was it a beautiful light.
Patrick now sees the Light. He died of brain cancer at the age of 53.
Yours in our Crucified Lord,
Member of the Body of Christ
From the desk of the Rector