Jesus Christ is risen! He is risen, indeed! That's today's headline. St. Paul tells us if Jesus is not risen from the dead our faith is in vain.
When Annie asked me if I wanted to write the Easter Twitch, of course my first thought was yes. Since then my mind kept turning over and over trying to find just exactly what it is I want to say.
The first thought I had was even though these have been tricky days and I certainly did not expect to spend most of Lent recovering from an unexpected surgery, nevertheless I did not want to wind up writing about me and not about the Mystery that is central to our Faith. If Jesus is at the core of my life, of all that I hold dear, of all that I expect to embrace in the future, how does he get his arms around my situation or - maybe the other way around- how do I try to get my arms around his passion? I think I've had some
powerful experiences of both.
Perhaps as this whole experience becomes more a part of my past I will be able to reflect upon it a little bit more clearly. There are a couple of things I do want to say that I think are important. Thanks to CaringBridge, I know there have been something like 600
messages that you sent over the last few weeks. I don't think I will be able to acknowledge each one of them individually, but I want you to know that I am going to find a way of reading every single one of them.
Some years ago a dear friend, Margaret Robinson, a member of the St. Louis tribe, was seriously ill. She was a daily communicant and very faithful in her prayer life. One day she mentioned to me how hard it was to pray from a bed, feeling like no words even connected, much less made prayer. The Holy Spirit came through and I said, "Margaret don't worry. We are all praying for you." I realized that praying for her had two meanings. The first is the one you might expect, "Dear Lord, help Margaret get better."
The second meaning of "we are praying for you" is literally, "Don't worry. When you can't get to your kneeler we will to be kneeling there for you and we will talk to God not only on behalf of your welfare but to gather up all of those things that are important to you that you wanted to present to him."
My good friend, Jack, reminded me of the episode so many years ago with Margaret. It felt very good because as I was hurting and staring at clocks in ICU units that never change time, I realized that there were just a whole bunch of people who were praying for me while I could barely think much less pray for myself, and that they would bring my good petitions to God as well. I hope each of you has the opportunity of knowing somebody who is as generous, consistent and caring as Jack. Perhaps that becomes another example of Easter generosity, The wonderful priests who’ve been able to cover our spiritual needs will always have more gratitude from me than they could imagine. I only hope that I can return the favor if ever it's required. I hope you will take some special time to thank them individually as you're coming into or going from Mass.
My siblings have been so supportive and I wish that I could communicate with them as easily as they have done with me. I guess it'll happen in due time. I'm writing this letter on Friday before Palm Sunday because of publishing deadlines. The plan is for a new evaluation on Monday of Holy Week to see what my next steps will be. I sincerely hope that I'll be able to come home, but if I can I'm pretty sure I'll be out of communication for a little while.
I close with a promise to which I will try to remain faithful, namely to be is empathetic as I can to others who are going through situations which I know are far worse than mine. We are destined for the Lord and the walks we make to get to him matter very much. Let's do it together.