Last Sunday our pastor gave a sermon that I felt was directly aimed at me as it was so relevant to the IF situation. I wish I had a pen and paper with me to take notes, but here is my weak attempt at recreating at least part of what he said. The gospel was about Jesus and the disciples being on a boat in a storm. Jesus is asleep and the disciples are all scared they are going to die. They wake up Jesus and He calms the seas.
My pastor started off by saying that all of us have one thing in our lives that we wish we could change. We feel like our lives would be pretty good if only this one thing was different. For some people it is a relationship, for others it is improved health, for some it is to make more money, etc. He reminded us that we all have our different struggles in life. Even when one struggle is lifted, there will be another to follow. He spoke about the need to pray for God's grace. His grace is sufficient and will help us through any crisis. Although God may not remove our sufferings from us, He does offer the grace to handle those situations and to maintain our faith in Him.
He then mentioned the importance of the Mass and all of the congregants coming together. We all have different struggles, but we come together as a community to pray with and for each other. He described participating in the Mass as being on the boat when Jesus wakes up. How beautiful is that imagery? Although our life feels stormy and out of control, when we go to Mass, we experience the love of Jesus. Through prayer and the Eucharist, He calms us and gives us the grace we need. Our pastor reminded us of our need to pray for each other. And when times are hard, he reminded us to pray, "Jesus, I trust in you. Give me the grace I need."
I also recently remembered a phrase that our archbishop used in his Lenten Stations of the Cross reflections. I had been meaning to share it here. He prayed, "Lord, grant that I will always be faithful to you, then do with me whatever you will." I love reflecting on that statement – it puts everything into perspective. The most important thing is for us to maintain our faith and trust in God. As long as we have that, we have everything – no matter what struggles life may bring.
"But now, thus says the LORD, who created you, O Jacob, and formed you, O Israel: Fear not, for I have redeemed you; I have called you by name: you are mine. When you pass through the water, I will be with you; in the rivers you shall not drown. When you walk through fire, you shall not be burned; the flames shall not consume you." Isaiah 43:1-2
"On that day, as evening drew on, Jesus said to his disciples: 'Let us cross to the other side.' Leaving the crowd, they took Jesus with them in the boat just as he was. And other boats were with him. A violent squall came up and waves were breaking over the boat, so that it was already filling up. Jesus was in the stern, asleep on a cushion. They woke him and said to him, 'Teacher, do you not care that we are perishing?' He woke up, rebuked the wind, and said to the sea, 'Quiet! Be still!' The wind ceased and there was great calm. Then he asked them, 'Why are you terrified? Do you not yet have faith?' They were filled with great awe and said to one another, 'Who then is this whom even wind and sea obey?'" Mark 4:35-41
"Three times I begged the Lord about this, that it might leave me, but he said to me, 'My grace is sufficient for you, for power is made perfect in weakness.' I will rather boast most gladly of my weaknesses, in order that the power of Christ may dwell with me." 2 Corinthians 12:8-9
- Do I feel that if only I am healed from infertility, that I will be satisfied in life?
- How do I respond when the struggle of IF is not lifted from my life each month?
- How has the grace of God helped me during difficult times?
Prayer for the Intercession of Pope John Paul II
O Holy Trinity, we thank you for having given to the Church Pope John Paul II, and for having made him shine with your fatherly tenderness, the glory of the Cross of Christ and the splendor of the Spirit of love
He, trusting completely in your infinite mercy and in the maternal intercession of Mary, has shown himself in the likeness of Jesus the Good Shepherd and has pointed out to us holiness as the path to reach eternal communion with You.
Grant us, through his intercession, according to your will, the grace that we implore, in the hope that he will soon be numbered among your saints. Amen.