Wednesday, July 27, 2011

On Being Useful

In praying over my breakfast, I always add some intention unrelated to the blessing of food, for the benefit of someone else.  Usually, it runs along the lines of hope for the hopeless, comfort for the orphan, light for those in darkness, with specifics named from day to day, like African children whose parents have died from AIDS, for instance. 

This morning, I found myself uttering—I wish I had the strength to do more for You, to serve others more, to produce more—because for the past couple of weeks, in spite of pain, I’ve had more energy than usual.  You may have noticed some of it translating in the frequency of posts here.  But for a couple of days now, I’m back to feeling like a wrung out mop, so the contrast I perceive is clear.

As I wished this, I recalled a message posted on a sign that I passed on my way to mass last Thursday evening:

At the time, I was pretty irritated seeing a church promoting this ideology and missing a key precept of Christianity.  Jesus did more for us nailed to the cross than He did in miracles and healings He performed during His active ministry.  He did more on the cross, with His hands and feet bound, exhausted, depleted, worn down to a figure that barely resembled a man, than He did when He was “useful.” 

And so I remembered what sustained me during those early years of profound debilitation with this illness—the understanding that we do much in offering our “uselessness” to Him who fuses our offering to His own on the cross, perfecting ours and imbuing it with redemptive value.  It is easy to forget, especially after a few days of feeling “useful.”

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