Friday, July 13, 2012

The Suffering of a Parent

"When Israel was a child, I loved him, and out of Egypt I called my son. 2 But the more I called Israel, the further they went from me. They sacrificed to the Baals and they burned incense to images. 3 It was I who taught Ephraim to walk, taking them by the arms; but they did not realize it was I who healed them. 4 I led them with cords of human kindness, with ties of love; I lifted the yoke from their neck and bent down to feed them. 7 My people are determined to turn from me...8 "How can I give you up, Ephraim? How can I hand you over, Israel? How can I treat you like Admah? How can I make you like Zeboiim? My heart is changed within me; all my compassion is aroused. 9 I will not carry out my fierce anger". (Hosea 1-9)

The first reading yesterday was so full of tenderness and heartache I found myself still thinking about it today.  Hearing the reading and the words of Hosea describing the Love of Our Father and His suffering as we reject Him I could not help but find the similarity in the sufferings of St. Monica.  For 30 years she wept and prayed for her son Augustine and his conversion.  Our Lord took pity on this heartbroken mother and bestowed a gift of faith to her son which brought one of the most beautiful fruits.  Augustine not only became a priest he is one of the few Doctors of the Church.  Both mother and child are saints. However,  this might not have come to pass without the faithful love and prayers of a parent for their child.  Months ago I wrote a Novena to Saint Monica which I began for a friend of mine who like St. Monica had prayed for years for the conversion of her children.  Now these children are grown and are having babies of their own.  My friend now has the added suffering to see a second generation growing up distanced from Our Lord.  The reading from Hosea describes the same heartache that parents suffer with today.  We each carry a cross or yolk designed especially for us.  One of the beautiful things about the cross that my friend has been given is that Our Lord in a very personal way shares it with her.  Our Father is the most loving of parents and we his children have hurt and rejected Him so many times.  To see my friend never giving up is the most beautiful witness of Our Loving God, for it resembles how Our Father never gives up on us and keeps waiting.

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