Christ told each one of us that unless we pick up our cross and follow
Him, we would not gain eternal life.
He also said that He would never give a cross to anyone that the person
was not able to carry with Him, with and through His graces.
He never said, though, that the cross(es) wouldn't or shouldn't hurt.
After all, He hurt, He wept, He sorrowed, and He allowed others to grieve,
to weep, to sigh deeply and trudge onward with a heart that was both
overburdened, and yet peaceful in the midst of the onslaught of life. He
further called out to all, "Come to Me, all you who are weary, for My Yoke
is easy, and My burden light."
He tests us. He perfects us. He wants us to resemble Him, and He
suffered more than we can possibly imagine. That Perfect Suffering is part
of the Father's plan for Salvation, and we have a part to play in this
symphony as well. It's neither a melody that any earthly orchestra will
play, nor one that will appear someday on a CD, or audiotape. It won't be
advertised as a Pay-Per-View special, like Yani or Riverdance, or the like.
No, this melody goes on continuously in a Divine Orchestra, and we're as
much a part of it as the angels and saints and the suffering souls in
Purgatory. Without our complimentary melody, the fullness of the Father's
Plan, the Redemptive Suffering of Christ, remains unfinished.
Having taken a personal vow of poverty more than seven and a half years
ago, my husband and I have done what any parents would do - we've seen to our
son's care, regardless of the material cost to us and to our family. In
the course of just three months, we've realized, as our son's on-going care
has drained what little reserves we had managed to store up in these seven
and a half years, that we were faced with some really tough decisions
regarding our future, regarding our ability as parents to provide the
necessities of life for our sons and for ourselves, while still going
forward in faith, hope and love of God.
Now, near the middle of the month of June, and our son faces yet another
hospitalization because his condition is certainly not any better, and
shows signs of worsening as the side effects of heavy medication are
beginning to show, we realize that we are in a very real position of losing
the home we are renting. We have struggled with the Social Services
Department of this County and State, and have found it not only personally
humiliating, but also an eye-opener in general.
At first, I must admit that I was repulsed to even be there, filling out
endless paperwork, talking with caseworkers, and pleading for them to
understand that we have an on-going medical emergency, that we are in need
of assistance at this time, and would these people please care enough to
treat us, and therefore our sons, with some dignity and respect.
We're just another case number in a seemingly endless number of case
numbers. We're being made to jump through hoops, to "prove" not once or
twice, but numerous times, the factual status of our financial situation.
We have sat for endless hours in a crowded room, with many others in the
same, or worse, situation than we are, and I've come to find that I'm
praying for these other people and learning how to see Christ in them
without any judgment. I'm even coming to pray for and love with Christ's
love those who work in the Social Services Department, because they're
victims of unjust and unfeeling laws that govern what they say and do at
any given moment.
Paperwork fills my days. It's taken me more time to do this and it takes
time away from the care I must give to our oldest son. It has caused me to
neglect the schooling of our youngest son, and has led me to "brain
burn-out" which is my humble definition of coping with one crisis, while
being paper-worked to death.
Sitting in the Social Services Offices, seeking aid, has given me a very
realistic picture and feeling of what "poverty" really is, what
"homelessness" is, and knowing that my husband and I are faced with this
real possibility in a very short time.
I have seen unreasonable men and women, even incompetent ones, sitting behind plexi-glass
partitions, reviewing our application, and demanding that before our case
can be granted, we will be run through hoops and rings at their beckoning.
My husband, who has worked selflessly for over eight years as the
Executive Director of Mir-A-Call Center, and all for Love of God, a man who
has worked so many hours at this task that no one would believe the hours
he's put in, a man who has always been there for me, for his sons, for his
family, is now, at the not-very-young age of 55, being told by them he can no longer continue as Executive Director and Editor in a ministry for God and a ministry that has been a labor of love for him. Rather they insist he must pursue any work available and to take whatever he can find, regardless of his God-given talents. All because the ministry can no longer afford to pay him the minimum salary he has willingly agreed to for eight years, a salary that has always met standard poverty standards in the United States. Yet, we have budgeted over these eight years to eek out a living while being fulfilled, not temporarily, but spiritually rewarded. Because the apathy has squeezed this apostolate where hardly any donations are now coming in, the ministry can no longer justify a salary for him. Only through the generosity of our readers will this turn around.
Through these recent experiences with Social Service workers, I've discovered they don't care and don't understand that he, at his age, is no longer employable in this modern age and with the cry for
young workers who have longevity on the job. These same Social Service
workers don't care that I must be at home with our two sons, particularly
for our oldest son, who needs around-the-clock care. I, too, must look for
work, any work, or our application will not be considered.
It's interesting to note, rather very sad, that we have even contacted Catholic Charities to discover to our chagrin that there are no programs for
families in a crisis. O, if I were a single mom, then it would be
different. If I were to "divorce" my husband, making him a single parent,
then it would also be different for him. But the fact that we have chosen,
despite the difficulties, to love and respect our marriage vows and to
fulfill our responsibilities before God toward one another and our
children, doesn't count for anything in this world. In fact, when I look
at the overall picture of all these "social programs," I realize that
morality, the "family unit", and good old-fashioned morals and love, are
not an economic bargaining chip, as they should be. Rather, I discover, to
my dismay and horror, that such values and deeply felt love are a debit
rather than an asset.
To Love God, to love the marriage vows, to honor your children to the
point of having nothing left in the world, means nothing anymore.
Well, it will always mean something to us and regardless of what lies ahead, we know Jesus will not give us a cross too great to carry. Tonight, before you go to bed, say a little prayer for our family. We'll be doing the same for you. And if you would like to help this ministry, in dire need of a transfusion, you can make a contribution by clicking on WE NEED YOUR HELP.