Thursday, May 30, 2019
"I will not leave you orphaned"
A reflection from Mother Cecilia:
A couple of weeks ago I was on my annual retreat, and I was at a retreat center where there was a beautiful path through the woods with the Stations of the Cross. On the second-to-last day of my retreat, it was finally warm enough to entice me to venture into the woods for a prayerful little walk. The sweet scent of Locust blossoms cascaded down from the trees above and mixed with the fragrance of honeysuckle, intensified by the humid air that was permeated by gentle raindrops. I glanced up at each Station as I walked along with my umbrella. Up ahead, I saw three crosses made out of trees, and when I reached them, I saw that the Station, "Jesus dies on the Cross," was nailed to the middle cross. I stopped there to pray for a few moments. Then I continued on and stopped again at the Station of the Resurrection, nailed to a very interesting tree covered in vines. There I thanked Jesus for the gift of His Resurrection and all the graces He had bestowed on me during this Paschal Season, especially for the way He had helped me to better understand the meaning of His Resurrection. I also thanked Him for the graces of my retreat. Then, I looked and saw that the path continued! As I began to follow this unknown part of the path, I wondered, "How far does it go? What is up ahead?" and my thoughts quickly turned to my own life, and I wondered, "How will I integrate into my life what I've learned on this retreat? How will I remember what happened? How will I remember what my spiritual father said to me during this retreat? Will I actually be different when I go home?"Jesus was listening to my thoughts, and He spoke clearly and gently to my heart, "I will not leave you orphaned" (Jn 14:18).
Later that day, when I met with my spiritual father and told him what happened, he said, "This is really important!" I raised my eyebrows slightly and he explained, "Do you see how you were being self-reliant? 'How will I integrate...How will I remember?' Jesus promised that the Father would send the Holy Spirit 'and bring to your remembrance all that He said to you' (Jn 14: 26)! You don't have to do these things on your own!" A wave of peace flooded me. It was so helpful to be shown in a very specific situation how I was being self-reliant. I don't have to be anxious; I don't have to do anything on my own! Jesus will not leave me orphaned. I only have to surrender to Him and let Him do it.
As we celebrate the Feast of the Ascension, we might naturally be sad that Jesus is "going away." But it is necessary, so that the Father may send the Holy Spirit, and the Father and the Son may "come to [us] and make [their] home with [us]" (Jn 14:23). That way, they can do everything in us! As we anticipate the Feast of Pentecost--the crowning feast of God's work of salvation--let's ask Him for the grace to see the ways that we rely on ourselves, so that we can instead turn to Him as His little children and not remain as though we are orphans.