When I was ten years old and my sister was thirteen, our mother passed away. Ovarian Cancer. It was a very difficult time for us and for our father.
As time went on, our father remarried. He married one of our mother’s sisters, our Aunt Mary! She helped us through our adolescence and was a strong support for much of our adult years. She died recently at age ninety-three. From this second marriage came our kid brother. And he and his wife would bless us with two delightful children. Our family went from death to life, from sorrow to joy.
Many years later I would read the words of St. Paul to the Romans as found in our second reading: “We know that all things work for good for those who love God…” Our family loved God and all things worked for good for us.
Even before St. Paul wrote those words, our Blessed Mother experienced their truth. The Thirteenth Station of the Cross shows Mary with the dead body of her son Jesus upon her lap. What intense pain and sorrow she must have gone through. What flow of tears streamed from her eyes. But Mary trusted. Mary waited. And Easter came. The Resurrection!
Whether we are going through physical pain, emotional distress or relational heartache, we are challenged to place ourselves into God’s hands. From Calvary to Easter, from death to life, from sadness to joy – that is the pattern in a life of faith. Trust in God is a pearl of great price and is found in those who belong to the kingdom of heaven.
Fr. Alan Phillip, C.P. is a member of the Passionist Community at Mater Dolorosa Retreat Center, Sierra Madre, California. http://www.alanphillipcp.com/