Three 20-something women trying to figure out what it means to be lay, Catholic, and modern all at once.

February 19, 2009

(don't) Leave Us!

There's a beautiful post by Amy Welborn that deals with the spiritual difficulties dealing with the sudden passing away of her husband:
My favorite story from Jesus’ life, one that I have relied on and been nourished by for a decade, rather intensely. The Gerasene demoniac.

You know the story. The man is possessed and lives among the tombs. He is as if dead. A legion dwells within. Jesus drives the demons out. The villagers come and see the man, clean and healed.

They turn to Jesus, and what is their response? Thank you? Do for us what you did for him? Heal us? Help us? Drive out our demons, less in number and quieter, but demons still? Make us whole, as he is?


“Leave us.”

The reason that has resonated with me so much over the years is that I think it characterizes so much about the spiritual journey. Mine at least. Grace surrounds us. The witness of good, holy people surround us - joyful. The fruit of love is as clear as day, the spoiled fruit of selfishness and indulgence is also as clear as day. The power of Jesus is right here. He waits, in love.

And we say, more often than not, fearful of the changes, fearful of what will be lost, “Leave us.”

In a rush, the connections came, it knit together more quickly than I could process. Immediately. God Alone. Leave Us.

There are stages, there are layers, there are bridges. There is a void, my best friend in the world is just - gone. But in this moment I am confronted with the question, most brutally asked, of whether I really do believe all that I say I believe. Into this time of strange, awful loss, Jesus stepped in. He wasted no time. He came immediately. His presence was real and vivid and in him the present and future, bound in love, moved close.

And Amanda Shaw, at FT, has some lovely thoughts about this as well:
I am reminded of Fr. Neuhaus’ story from As I Lay Dying, in which Father describes one of his early encounters with death. The man’s name was Albert, and, as the two of them prayed the Our Father together on a hot summer evening, he suddenly widened his eyes, looked intently at the pastor by his side, and said, “Don’t be afraid.” And that was it.

It is a wondrous thing when those who are suffering teach us how to rejoice, when those who are dying teach us how to live.

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