Confession time: I've felt a little spiritually dry this Lent. I started reading a book for spiritual growth...and it sits half-finished on my shelf. I really don't even have the desire to pick it up. My plans for mortifications and sacrifices? Buried with other resolutions in the wake of pregnancy.
I'm not sure what the instigator is in this dryness...this barren feeling. We have attended Mass every Sunday. We've attended Mass every Wednesday evening. I've been to confession twice.
One of the things I have grown to love about my Catholic faith is the fact that even when I may not be "feeling it," so to speak, I still have a place to go...to seek out Jesus in The Eucharist, to hear His Word, to receive His Grace through the sacraments.
This week has been one of the more trying weeks of my life in the past 12 years. My older brother had a heart attack this past weekend. Thank God he was at my sister's house in front of my brother-in-law when he began having symptoms. My brother-in-law was able to take him to the hospital.
How blessed we were for the wonderful staff at that hospital who took great care of my brother. And it was a nerve-racking cross that something prevented a priest (who had been called to my brother's aid a day before his operation) from arriving.
God provided an opportunity for me to stand by my brother's bed pre-operation and pray a rosary with him. God called on me - you know, the one who hasn't felt too close to Him during the past few weeks - to be there and pray for our Blessed Mother's intercession. He called on me to be there and to pray with my brother like we did when we were little. In hindsight, this is so humbling.
And I believe Mary, our Blessed Mother, was there interceding for him and asking the Lord to watch over him during this operation.
I praise God that our parish priest miraculously had a window of time where he could come and spend some time with my brother before he left the hospital.
There are so many things I am thankful for. But tonight, as I reflect on my period of spiritual dryness, I am still able to feel so blessed. Amidst the chaos and stress of buffering my mother, comforting out-of-town siblings, communicating outcomes to parents and friends, I have escaped the whole ordeal with my sanity
Tonight, I finally broke down. I had felt it building throughout the week. But finally, the opportunity for the floodgates to open presented itself and I just let it all come out. I sobbed uncontrollably for about 15 minutes.
And even in that 15 minutes of despair, Christ showed Himself to me. He was there in my children: one brought me her "fifi" (blankie) and draped it over my shoulders; one brought me tissues and said, "dry your eyes, Mama?" Silently, another came and embraced my leg, pressing his head on my knee in a loving caress.
As I'm sad and feeling empty...Jesus is there, lifting my cross to carry with His.
So, while I might not have had the most holy of Lents, somehow, I still feel as though the Lord has prepared me to celebrate the Last Supper on Holy Thursday and to walk the Stations of the Cross on Friday.
And I am ready to meditate on His Passion and Death.
And I am ready to marvel in the Joy of His Resurrection.
It's not the way I envisioned it. Not the way I planned it. But it's the perfect preparation.
Of course it is.
Because He has shown me a different path this Lent, this Holy Week, to the foot of His cross.