We surround them with God's Holy Light. We envelop them in the Most Precious Blood of Our Lord Jesus Christ. We entrust them into the maternal care of the Blessed Mother, and surround them with legions of angels to keep watch over them. We invoke the guardian angels and ask that the angels pray with us and for us that we may persevere until the end.
Is it easy?
No, of course not. There are nights when the struggle of the day, its ups and downs, weigh heavily upon the heart. There are nights when the exhaustion of the struggle takes upper hand and causes me to sigh a prayer of sincerity to God. Just a sigh, nothing more. There are then no words, no strength left to utter a single formal prayer.
And in that wordless prayer, in that blessing of the children, in the acceptance of this cross, there is a melody that comes from Heaven and returns to Heaven and gives praise to God.
Do I hear the melody? No. I do not "hear" the heavenly chords but I believe they are there. I believe that the entire suffering forms a rhapsody that is unequaled by any composer that has ever lived, or will live. I believe that the melody is written in God's language of love, and it surpasses all understanding and all imagination.
You see, I have often pondered on the words of Genesis which states: "In the beginning was the Word, and the Word was with God." I have asked for discernment and understanding through the Holy Spirit, and the knowledge placed upon my heart is that the Word is sound, and sound is power and energy, and the energy is that of Love. Love, in harmony with God's Perfect Will then becomes a symphony that is ceaseless, that fills Heaven and comes down to earth through the graces and mercy of God.
I have pondered that, were we to truly meditate upon and contemplate God, we would quickly become so interiorly still that we would hear with the ears of our soul this symphony that has been from all time, that grows in crescendo, mounting until the Father shall cry out, "Time is no more."
I have often felt that within each one of us God's Love pulsates through His presence, through His life-giving grace, and that were we to "hear" this melody, we would die of ecstasy.
These are thoughts that I have come to believe after much prayer, after many tears. Did not our Blessed Mother also weep? Did not our Blessed Mother have anxious moments as she raised the Christ Child, sent Him out upon His public ministry, and then watched that ministry culminate in the fulfillment of the Father's Will as her son died hideously on Calvary?
Her soul was pierced through and through with swords. This was the prophecy of Simeon when she presented herself and her son in the temple after Christ's birth. The swords, which pierced her Immaculate Heart far exceed the swords, which pierce our own hearts, but in this is solace. If we turn to her, then she, as our mother, can comfort and obtain for us those special graces that a mother needs to keep watch with her child as that child suffers.
Does not Our Lord know the pain of His own mother's Immaculate Heart? In the fullness of Scripture, her Heart beat as one with His Most Sacred Heart, which bore all the pain of all the world for all time, and died of Love for us.
If this Love, which transcends all we can imagine, is the symphony of God's Love, then we, too, are privileged to share in the melody. We form part of the chords, and we are each a musical note that gives praise to God as we strive from moment to moment to live in Union with His Will, in union with His Most Sacred Passion.
Before I end this fourth installment on Symphony of Suffering, I wish to add that I am also sure that the sufferings of my own family, of my son, of myself, are minute compared to the sufferings of others in the world. I cannot know the sufferings of each person. I am not supposed to know this. I am to understand that everyone suffers, and that suffering is beautiful when given back to and united to the Passion of Jesus Christ. I am not to compare my sufferings or those of my family with anyone else's. Rather, I am to understand that God seeks our cooperation in redemptive suffering, and begs us to surrender to Him, to unite all sufferings, as well as joys, to Him, and in that way, the melody is strengthened. With obedience, with acceptance, and all because of faith, we intertwine the melodies of the suffering souls throughout the world, and bring the symphony of Suffering to a fullness that nears completion in the Father's time.
So, as I must now go and attend to my family duties and the work of the day, may we join together in giving to God everything that will befall us this day, and seeing in each thing the hand of God's providence for our eternal salvation. Let us pray for the strength to suffer with Him and for Him, and to suffer also for all those who reject suffering, who renounce it, and who demean it.
Oh, how can we demean suffering when it is the suffering of Jesus that sets the example for the entire world?
Until next time, let us lift up our voices in heart-felt prayer that sings to God the praise which is His, and join in that celestial chorus wherein the melody is constant, and the chords of music flow from the souls of all mankind into a perfection before God's throne which we shall hear when we return to Him in our Heavenly home.
With disaster at the door, we have to ask ourselves how did we and our children get in such a mess? It's really quite simple. Like His chosen people of Old Testament times, we have forgotton God. For many they have not only forgotten Him, but refuse to acknowledge His greatness and their dependency on Him. Gone are the work ethics that generations fostered, where parents sacrificed much for their offspring and the latter were grateful, where children were brought up with a healthy respect for the Almighty and the authority He placed on this earth. Not so today! If you don't think the young inmates are not running the asylum, look at the daily headlines. The increase of students wielding guns and going on killing sprees is alarming. The demands of teens today are just that: demands without any trace of earning their rewards. A good example of this is the most recent flap over a fifteen-year old school girl from Fallbrook High School north of San Diego. The young atheist MaryKait Durkee insists she is not going to stand during the Pledge of Allegiance. She gives a contradiction on why, one time stating she doesn't believe in what the country is doing, the next saying she doesn't believe in God. But it has gone farther than just complaining; she is suing the school district over her "rights." Isn't it time we say as God-fearing American citizens: "Enough of this!"? How many servicemen and patriotic men and women, and parents who gave their all for their offspring has she insulted with her defiance to speak out, falling behind the mask of democracy while threatening that very democracy with her frivolous legal action that is both time-consuming and a heavy burden to tax-payers? But should we be surprised when the chief executive of the country, the supposed Commander-in-Chief of the armed forces is himself a draft-dodger? Our culture and society have been turned topsy-turvy and right now it's turvy! Common sense has no place in today's fast-paced, slothful living conditions. Teens demand and get what they want. That is a sad condemnation of family life today. But the families are being caught between a rock and a hard place. Any loving parent wants to give their children anything they can, but they forget tough love. One reason they do is because the government doesn't believe in that word "love" - only tough, like invading homes with regulations that have tipped the scales where children have the right to sue their parents for child abuse if a parent dares to correct their own as God entreats us. Lost on the kids is the Fourth Commandment, if not all the Commandments. The government, with help from the ACLU and other radical factions have made it a crime to be a responsible parent today. In this editor's early days, if I or my brothers and sister acted up in public we got a stern rebuke right there. In fact, if we really violated our parents' trust, we might get a firm pat on the back below the waist on the spot. It taught us discipline and respect; respect not just for right vs. wrong, but for our parents, and for authority. What child of the fifties and sixties does not thank his parents today for the stern upbringing where love permeated, but strict discipline enforced our values? Our advice for the spoiled brat from Fallbrook, who isn't old enough to even know the history of this country, let alone the values of sacrifice, is send her to Singapore where they'll give her a good caning, just like they did to that young upstart who dared to paint graffitti in the Malaysian capital. That's what teens need today, a good spanking. No lip, just the back of the hand. If not they may just hand over their souls to the evil one without ever feeling the love embellished in a spanking - something remembered and learned from.
So also with the Church. It's time to wield discipline and stop the whining and permissiveness that permeates parishes. Before Vatican II everything was "black and white." You knew where you stood and if the Church said it, you obeyed it under penalty of sin and rebuke. I don't think there were that many who thought it was a "prison" atmosphere, but there were enough "inmates" who managed to escape and pull the ol' con on millions of Catholics by railroading through the parishes so many changes that never saw the light of day at the Vatican. Yet, we bought it hook, line and sinker because of the guilt trip placed on us by these bleeding heart liberals who were masters of the hyperbole. Rather than stand up to these upstarts, too many just went along with the program, afraid to rock the boat. But, by not rocking the boat, the Barque of Peter tilted badly and only through prayer and the loyal efforts of her skipper - John Paul II with the support of loyal prelates, clerics and a remnant crew has the ship been able to stay afloat in a sea of heresy and apathy.
In chapter 7: 15 of Matthew, Our Lord states "By their fruits you will know them." We all know there are no fruits produced by the media, only ratings which don't add up to a hill of beans in Heaven. But, having sold their souls to lucifer and his legions, they could care less. They will continue to inundate us with glitz, glamor and garbage as they chisel away at the thin moral fiber of society today, slowly but surely peeling away any shield of resistance we might offer until their master has achieved his goal of soul domination and sucked all into the depths of hell. The only way to fortify ourselves in the icy waters of this world is by donning the armor of God. That way we can be reliable life vests. By doing this we will be calling down the angels to help us in this fight, gain greater graces and keep us all afloat. That is the only way to thwart the nefarious plot of the false prophets to turn minds, hearts and souls from God. But, with only one and a half years left until the dawn of the third millennium, there is not a lot of time left to fight this ultimate battle. How do we "uneducate" the youth to the perils they are plunging toward because of the false idols they elevate to god status today? How do we win them back to the way of Christ? How do we reconcile their eternal soul in the face of so much secular static that interferes with young minds' ability to decipher right from wrong? Only through prayer and example and speaking out strongly against anything that goes against the will of God can we expect a successful rescue effort. We cannot remain passive in this war to win back our kids. But the soul-saving strategy has to be one soul at a time. Like the saints who used to combat the evils of their day, the floatation devices of prayer, persistence and patience are the proven method. Like Saint Monica who endured so many years of her son Saint Augustine's wild ways, her prayers were finally answered. We can only hope and pray ours will be, too, but only if we're willing to dig in for the long haul for it won't be a rescue we can accomplish overnight. Our youth have been indoctrinated since birth on the power of television. That is their authority; that, unfortunately for too many, has become their god. First, we must pray; secondly, we must be patient; but equally important, we have to recognize the enemy and not let him into our living room. Whether it is Bart Simpson, irresponsible and lazy teens, an immature school girl with no respect for her Creator or country, disenchanted youth bent on revenge through firepower, the South Park kids, or the latest rock idol or prima-donna star in entertainment or sports, we must recognize the root of the problem and acknowledge it. Too much goes over our heads without realizing the danger it is instilling in the minds, hearts and souls of our youth. The first step in rescuing these souls is to recognize the enemy: With the help of prayer, we must ask more often: What's wrong with this picture?!? Then go into action by manning the lifeboats!