Wednesday, December 5, 2012

First Wednesday of Advent: Moved with Compassion

“The Lord is my shepherd; I shall not want.  In verdant pastures he gives me repose.  Beside restful waters he leads me; he refreshes my soul.” – Ps 23: 1-3a

“My heart is moved with compassion for the crowd …” – Mt 15:32

My cousin has been in the hospital for six weeks and is now in critical condition.  She is only 32 years old with a husband, an eight year old son, and another who is fourteen months old.  She is at the threshold of death and passing to the other side of eternity.  The doctors and nurses have done all they possibly can.

A number of us, including her husband, prayed with Psalm 23 at her bedside yesterday.  We were deeply consoled.  We prayed for a miracle as we struggled to accept the real possibility of her passing.  We wanted to let go and at the same time hoped against hope.  We struggled to trust in God’s shepherding goodness and strength yet wished that our loved one return to health.  Trust and surrender become so real when there is so much to lose.

As in an earlier quiet moment at her bedside, I sensed a mysterious presence.  In a way I cannot explain, I sensed Christ’s quiet, almost imperceptible presence.  He seemed to be moved with compassion for us.  He seemed to whisper “I am here.  I am here with you.”  We listened to the song, “You Are Mine,” and her husband sung along, “I will bring you home; I love you and you are mine.”  A part of my cousin-in-law wanted desperately to bring her home, a part of him struggled to entrust her more fully to God’s mysterious design.  I sang along and felt his suffering. 

I believe that Christ is suffering-with all of us.  Perhaps it is only in my imagination, yet somehow I am strengthened by the sense that Christ is moved with compassion for us. That he stands alongside with us, in a similar way that God was present with him on the cross.  I believe that trust is growing in each of us as we stand by my cousin, wrestling to accept and trust the advent of God. Please pray with us for her. Prayer can born greater solidarity.

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