Your Own Soul a Sword Shall Pierce

Isaac! I'm not referring to Abraham's son, but the potential hurricane heading our way as I draft this reflection. Indeed the fact that he is scheduled to arrive—to the day—on the anniversary of that sassy Katrina, stirs up a tornado of memories within me—and most of the People of God who live on the Gulf Coast.

PietaThe pounding of a hammer brings me to the window in my office. I can see our neighbor putting ply board to protect the glass panes in his home. Radio and TV news and Accuweather reports are eye-catching with colorful radar pictures of projected direction, rain, wind gusts, etc. Possible mandatory evacuation orders will be given by city officials… and I sit here pondering and remembering, with sincere gratitude, the aftermath of Hurricane Katrina. "Your own soul a sword shall pierce." Luke 2:33-35

So many blessings followed the destruction of our coastal cities: southern citizens pulled together in near-by, land-locked cities, people came from all parts of the U.S. and all walks of life to lend their hearts and hands to the recovery efforts. Locally individuals recognized personal strengths within themselves that may have been lying dormant. The Amazing Grace List goes on and on offering life-long lessons. In The Prophet, Khalil Gibran, a Lebanese Poet, wrote that the deeper sorrow hollows us out, the more joy we can contain.

Associates, sisters and brothers who are reading this, prayerfully reflect on how you deal with the raw edges of loss in your life. Where do you find the inner strength to be present to another's pain? As the feast of the Seven Sorrows of Mary (September 15th) approaches, how does the image of the Pieta speak to you? What graces do you most need in your life today to recognize joy within any sorrow?

Isaac, the biblical character, and our Blessed Mother both invite us to face our fears with a willingness to be transformed in the process. We are challenged to move away from doubt or self-pity and to deepen our faith as we reflect on the joy and struggle of life.

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