Over the past couple of years, I've been praying for the grace to suffer well, as Fr. Eric says. The spiritual work of mercy calls it "bearing wrongs patiently." In addition to humility and patience, forbearance is what I struggle with most.
There's been plenty of opportunity, some of which I'll write about here, and some of which I just need to allow to rest in my heart.
I've found myself praying to ask for more opportunities to bear gracefully the challenges of life.
It seems that those around me are being placed in my life so that I have someone other than myself to pray for though.
I have a classmate who's fighting breast cancer. She's one of the sweetest, most selfless people I know. She has a beautiful family and a love for Jesus which inspires everyone around her. Please pray for Jill.
I have another friend who so recently buried her husband. He was diagnosed with cancer and died not even a month later. He fought every second with amazing strength and grace and faith, always with a smile and a laugh, always with a word of encouragement for everyone around him. His name was Paul. Please pray for the peaceful repose of Paul's soul. His beautiful wife is due any day now with their sixth child. Sadly, babies four and five, twins, were lost to miscarriage last spring. The joy of learning they were expecting again was radiant in both of them, along with their three little ones. Now, this Mama and her babies are beginning to find ground beneath their feet again. Please pray for Annie and their children.
My Darling has such a big family: his mom was one of fourteen children. This year on Ash Wednesday, one of his uncles died very suddenly. He was only 57 years old. He leaves behind a lovely family--his beautiful wife, four children, and a passel of grandchildren. Today we will attend his funeral. Please pray for the peaceful repose of Ray's soul. Please pray for his family.
We were told some very upsetting news at Mass yesterday: the mother of one of our dear priests was kidnapped. Virginia lives in Nigeria. The note left behind says that a ransom will be demanded for her release. Please pray for Virginia.
There is so much to pray for, so many souls to love. I thank you for joining me in prayer for those in my life.
There are joyful things in life, too! Since Wednesday was Squash's birthday, and since GinGin's birthday falls at the very tail end of January (but we've been busybusybusy), we had a double birthday party yesterday. And My Darling treated me specially: since we have so many big parties for birthdays, with many family and friends celebrating with us, he bought me a big double cake pan. So yesterday's cake was lemon (requested by GinGin), and strawberry (requested by Squash)--two cakes, one pan, batters swirled together to make a delicious strawberry-lemonade cake. We had six cousins, three uncles, three aunts, two Grandmas, and a Grandpa here to party with us. It was great!
This is our Birthday Season. It kind of tickles my Catholic funny bone a little bit that we have so many Lenten birthdays in our family. Squash's doesn't always fall during Lent, but this year of course it was on Ash Wednesday. Frog's is almost always during Lent, though usually closer to the beginning. My Darling's is next, just 11 days after the Frog. And Pickle will have his second Holy Week birthday this year. I guess God has quite a sense of humor!
The book I'm reading, The Face of God, is absolutely beautiful. I've always longed to visit holy Rome, but even moreso now, the more I learn especially, I find my desire shifting more toward Manoppello.