In a night’s vigil of adoration in the shadow of the Eucharist, a sixteen year old seminarian was drawn into the silence. Into the invitation of God. Face to face. Heart to heart. The humbled awe of being seen, of being small in a divine plan still shrouded in mystery. The gratefulness at being known. Being called.
On the eve of 1901, this Eucharistic vigil changed the young seminarian James Alberione forever and gave birth to consecrated lives of thousands of women and men in the Pauline Family who would hear through him what he received that night from the Lord: “Come to me.” It was not just a Bible verse, but the cry of Jesus who silently extends his hands and opens his heart to the whole world every day and every night from every Tabernacle of the world.
“Come to me all who are weary.” The century that followed that call from the Eucharistic heart to James Alberione would be exhausting, a century bathed in the blood of the fallen in two World Wars and confused by the cacophony of voices claiming that truth was on their side.
“Come to me all who are heavy burdened.” It is the call of Jesus from the tabernacle to us today in a pandemic-stricken world, strangely now one in its search for wholeness and relief.
It is Christ’s invitation from the sanctuaries where he silently sorrows that so many walk by or walk away.
“Come to me.” Feel within yourself the sadness of the Lord who longs to wash away what troubles us and cheer us with his kindness. This Lent his heart longs for us more than we long for him. He hears and knows and sees us, even when our attention is elsewhere.
This Lent, Jesus knows the burdens you carry, the way of the passion that you walk and he doesn’t want you to walk alone. He sees you. He invites you into his divine and mysterious plan.
“Come to me.” Whatever are the tears that run down your cheeks, or those perhaps held unshed in the secret of your heart, go to him. Jesus is calling you from the Tabernacle and from the inner sanctuary of your own heart.
“I am here. Come to me. Tell me what you need.”
We just celebrated National Caregivers’ Day. How many of us have become caregivers, a heart-giving ministry of love for months or years that slip by uncounted, measured only by the sighs, the renewed energy to be there for another, the sleepless nights, the worries across the miles, the tears, the passion, His passion.
This past year how many caregivers have not been able to be near loved ones in order to care for them! This isolation and surrender too is the way of the passion, our hearts burdened with love as is the heart of Jesus. “Come to me and I will give you rest.”
This Lent, may our care for others resemble the care Jesus longs to give each person. Let us invite others with open arms to come and find rest in our presence, that they may discover his presence. May they feel heard. May they know they are seen. May they know they never walk alone, that through our hearing and seeing and walking they may find true rest for their souls.
To all who give care, blessed be God in the gifts he has given you and that you share with others.
Sr. Kathryn J. Hermes, FSP - We just accompanied one of our sisters, as her caregiver in the last couple weeks of her life. This is the book that helps us sisters every time: Midwife for Souls, by Kathy Kalina. Caregiving can be easier when it comes to the practical things of what to do. We can learn those. But we often don't have a teacher for the spiritual wisdom that we want to be a part of this caregiving journey for both ourselves and the one we are caring for. Kathy offers years of qualified experience and spiritual wisdom that will inform and comfort caregivers and loved ones. This book provides insight, showing how the support of one s Catholic faith and the power of prayer can be a guide in ministering to a dying person. This book is essential reading for anyone who accompanies others to the edge of life and helps in their birthing to eternal life.
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