Wisdom and Hope
Last Friday at Mass, I was kneeling down praying with my eyes closed. I had just received the Lord in the Eucharist and it was a wonderfully quiet moment. Then I heard a small voice next to me ask, “Mom why did Jesus die on the cross?” It was Mary Bear, she was gazing up at the crucifix. I whispered to her, “Jesus died to save us from our sins and open the gates of Heaven.” She looked at me with her blue eyes and nodded and then said, “but then He woke up.” “Yes,” I said, “He rose from the dead and is now in Heaven.” Still looking at the crucifix she continued, “He doesn’t say anything.” I told her that He wouldn’t talk on the crucifix she was looking at, but He would speak to her in prayer.
I love the simplicity of a child’s faith. Simple and direct questions. Real questions that have meaning. As a 4 year old, looking at the crucifix, Mary cut to the heart of our Christian faith. Why did Jesus come? More, why did he have to suffer? Finally, His victory over death. Images of our Lord are powerful, gazing at the crucifix is powerful to her little 4 year old mind. It causes pause, makes her wonder, and brings to life at an early age the notion of suffering. Suffering for love. This is merely the beginning for Mary, but she knows more already than far too many adults.
A women’s group I am in is doing a study on Wisdom. We just kicked off last week. Our study this time is less academic, and more of an exploration on how to apply the wisdom we find in Scripture to our daily lives. What is wisdom? How does it differ from knowledge? How can I grow in wisdom? Such wonderful questions to chew on with my fellow sisters in Christ, and so very important to our roles as mothers.
In our discussion last week, we were describing those in our lives we would describe as wise. We all had different examples unique to our own experience, but there was a common thread. A truly wise person must have at least some, often many, real encounters with suffering. To be truly wise, one must have a wide breadth of experience. Life we know well is not a series of one joy after another. Rather, life is filled with works, joys and sufferings. For a person to be wise, they must have experienced struggle. That is not to say they handled the situations perfectly, but they did grow and learn from these. Wisdom can be instilled through these various crosses if one comes to a realization of the need for God’s help and the acceptance of God’s help.
I have far to go to be a truly wise person for sure. There are areas of my life though, that I can say I have a bit of wisdom. These are areas in my life that have been painful and difficult. Areas where only by God’s help, by following His plan, was I able to make it through. Struggling with years of infertility is certainly an example that comes to mind. I understand well the yearning to have a child. I understand the heartache of disappointment month after month. I understand the temptation to treatments that are outside of God’s beautiful plan for life. I understand the humility of realizing I am not in control. Being thus humbled though was the beginning of my journey to true joy. It was the beginning of turning my full gaze to God and seeking his aid.
Now, when I speak to someone who is going through the same struggle, they know that I can truly understand the pain they are suffering. They can appreciate insights that Tate and I are able to impart based on our own journey. We also are believable when we tell couples the suffering of this time will give way to great joy when it is united to Christ. Our story brings hope to those under the cross of infertility. They can see we have traveled through the valley to the other side.
This is the power of the Cross. This is why Jesus, in His infinite wisdom, had to suffer. We needed as humans someone who could understand our struggles, our pains, our disappointments. We needed to see that despite the suffering there is hope. Our Lord and Savior knew this well. He knew we were going to suffer. However, we can look to Him and know that when we suffer out of love for Christ and neighbor, death is not the final answer. There is hope. Mary Bear knows this when she told me, “then he woke up.”
As we approach Lent, we need this reminder. Make this a Lent a time of penance, a time to suffer with Christ. Suffering bears fruit, it is not void of meaning. All the while, we can be assured of Christ’s victory over all death and sadness. For some, relief may come in this lifetime. If it does not, we can be assured it will come in the next.
Christ suffered and died. Christ rose. Christ is in Heaven waiting for us. Christ speaks to us in prayer. Thank you God for the faith of my little ones who remind me how simple it really is. Wisdom is not something we find in a book, but imparted to humble hearts through the Holy Spirit.
“Unless you turn and become like children, you will never enter the kingdom of heaven. Whoever humbles himself like this child, he is the greatest in the kingdom of heaven.” Matthew 18:2-4.
Must See Video
In case you haven't watched this 15 minute clip of Jim Cavaziel speach. Should be watched by everyone, especially our youth.