Tuesday, May 21, 2013
To be a Setting Sun
Thinking of what has formed me spiritually, I take one more look at the martyrs. These holy ones inspire me not because I like suffering (which I definitely do not), and not merely because their intense gift of self to Christ is challenging (although it is). I think I am enamored of them because their accounts pull me out of self-pity when I'm feeling arthritic, headachy, unable to find the car keys, or when it's raining for the ninth day in a row.
A witness of, say, an Ignatius of Antioch can hush my whines at such times. And fast.
"Now is the moment when I begin to be a disciple," proclaimed St. Ignatius as he was on the way to be fed to lions. "May nothing seen or unseen distract me from making my way to Jesus Christ. Fire and cross and battling with wild beasts, their clawing and tearing... let them assail me, so long as I get to Jesus Christ.... How glorious to be a setting sun - setting on the world, on my way to God!"
I hope to remember these words tomorrow, when I'm on the verge of grumbling about allergies and that load of laundry I must fold.
Painting: The Christian Martyrs Last Prayer
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What tremendous humility to call yourself a setting sun! That thought comes from a soul that harbors no illusions about himself and his importance in this world, outside of what he means to Christ's plan. So often, I am concerned about the "meaning" of my life, and I get all dumpy about how disappointed I am, at age 43, at my world contribution. The martyrs not only were willing to die in a horrible way for Christ, but were willing to "exit stage" on command, with no self-importance!ReplyDelete
Jamie, you've brought up some points I really want to ponder. Exiting stage on command, no self-importance. It's a part of martyrdom I'd never thought about before. Thank you!Delete
I don't suffer well. I grumble, too. It is such a good idea to remember the saints who embraced martyrdom whether it was death of the body or a white kind of death.ReplyDelete
Indeed! Thank you, Monica.Delete
Now that's faith. To embrace the death by lions would be difficult for me. I'm not that brave! Something to think about Nancy :) God bless!ReplyDelete
Noreen, I'm not that brave either; not even remotely close. But ... if we needed this kind of grace, I am sure it would be there at the exact right time. But would we accept it?.... I'm not sure about me!!!!!Delete
Throughout this long winter and spring going through my son's intense illness I can say the holy spirit manifests within when we are the most weak and vulnerable and crying out for help. Help comes through him and is felt tangibly. I can't fathom what these martyrs experienced and how near, all encompassing our Lord revealed himself and his peace. Thanks for another great post Nancy!!!ReplyDelete
Thank YOU so much!Delete
That quote by St. Ignatius appeals to my passionate, romantic side - the side that wants to die in the odour of sanctity of a sad and desperate wasting disease;-) Somehow, though, I think the reality, for me, would be rather less than saintly. I'm beginning to think it can sometimes be harder to meet the day-to-day, little challenges in life with patience. At times, illness has a way of detaching us from the world and uniting us more closely to Jesus, don't you think? There's a lot of peace in that. Maybe, the key to suffering, big or small, is simply abandonment to God's will?ReplyDelete
God bless, Nancy:-)
Vicky, I too think the day to day challenges are harder to meet with patience. In fact, this has been my experience over the years. In a wasting disease, I think it might not be the disease "itself" (overall) that would try my patience, but most likely the littler aggravations that would come with it.. "don't stick another needle in that hand again.. I think I'm getting a headache..." But yes: abandonment to God's will - I think you're right that therein lies the key!Delete