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Lenten Reflection for March 18, 2018

Alicia P. CND Associate

I am Alicia, an Associate from the Kankakee, Illinois area, which is about 60 miles south of Chicago. This area is rich in Congregation de Notre-Dame history, beginning with the first CND mission outside of Canada in 1860. I first met the CND sisters at Bishop McNamara High School, where I graduated in 1970. On May 5th, I will celebrate my 5-year anniversary as an Associate.

For many years, the season of Lent has been my favorite period in the Church calendar. I have found it to be the time of my greatest deepening of spiritual growth, likely due in part to maturity and life experiences. Year after year, I have been comforted by the orderliness of the scriptures: The rich details of the Old Testament readings foreshadowing the New Testament coming and journey of Christ - the transition of darkness and gloom to light and hope - and the guaranteed outcome of the Risen Lord on a joyous Easter morning! It seems like with every Lenten season, I was able to sense a deepening order in my personal life as well.

This year, my sense of orderliness in my personal life has been radically shaken. My 14-year old granddaughter has recently been diagnosed with major depression and social anxiety. A once cheerful and socially-active child, my family has witnessed her gradual plunge into darkness and despair, her alienation from family and friends, and her expressions of loneliness and loss. She struggles with wanting to be like her friends and having fun, but her anxiety hinders her participation in school and social settings. For our family, it has been devastating to witness her struggles.

So as my Lenten journey unfolded this year, I found myself easily identifying with the “doom and gloom” readings. A retired Clinical Counselor, I have reached into my own skills bag to reinforce my strengths. I took my concerns to St. Marguerite, and pondered her own time of darkness as well as her pathway back to the light. And so, armed with various spiritual resources, I have been working on identifying the rays of “light” that are present in my life, however subtle they may have be.

In today’s Second Reading, Hebrews 5: 7-9, we are reminded that the human “Christ Jesus offered prayers and supplications with loud cries and tears”… and…“Son though he was, he learned obedience from what he suffered…”. Like Jesus, I have found it difficult to face an event in my life that was taking place. And like Jesus, I have been overwhelmed with the aspect of the physical and emotional challenges that lay ahead. But Jesus knew it was meant to be, he trusted in God the Father, and he accepted God’s will. And so, I know that God already has me in his plans. I have chosen to accept this situation at hand, and focus on what God wants for me and from me. And by trusting in God, I also know that my granddaughter is not alone, and that in time, God will reveal his plan for her.

Heavenly Father, help us all to see the slivers of light in our overwhelming situations. By trusting in you, may we rise up as we grow in obedience through our own suffering.

 

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