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Monday, September 15, 2014

Memorial of Our Lady of Sorrows

“Do this, as often as you drink it, in remembrance of me.” (1 Corinthians 11:25)

The imagery surrounding the body of Christ is full of mystery and interwoven with symbolism. Just a few days before writing this reflection, a talented and highly popular actor, Robin Williams, took his own life. It seems he suffered from severe, chronic depression. One of my first thoughts was, “If we could only see past the façade people present to the world and see their hearts, how would we engage them differently?” Jesus said, “Whatever you do to the least of these, you have done unto me.” The meditation with today’s passages has us imagine and enter into Christ’s suffering and mourning. What a beautiful circle, for in His crucifixion He bore our suffering, and He felt our mourning.

We can imagine and grieve His pain and then get up and go on our way. But what would it be like if we asked for the grace not only to enter into His experience with Him, but also to receive the love He poured into us through His death and resurrection, which continues even now. This is remembering Him: not only imagining the pain itself, but also yielding fully to the love that initiated that pain and then sustained Him in His pain.

Take this one step further. We (as believers in Christ) are His body. We can ask for the grace to look into the eyes and heart of another and, yes, become aware of that person’s pain. If we can interact with each other and with our patients, families and community from the vantage point of being Christ to them and of them being Christ, what would that do to our approach, our listening, the depth of our love and compassion?

Paul chastised the Corinthians for gorging themselves and leaving out the poor, eating without waiting for those who had less. They gave lip service to the remembrance. Do we ever do that with our mission? The real lesson is that we all need each other. If we don’t take time to honor one another as Christ, we aren’t truly entering into the remembrance of Him, no matter how beautifully we speak or administer or receive the elements of the memorial meal. In all things, whatever we say or do, “Do this in remembrance of Me,” and let the supper remind us to ask for the grace not only to receive Him and not only to remember His suffering and His love, but also to share Him with others as the hands, feet and heart of Christ in the world.

Oh, Christ, who suffered in my place,

create in me Your heart of compassion.

Give me grace to see others with Your eyes

and touch them with Your healing Love.

Remembering you always.


Laura O’Neill
Medical Physicist, Avera Cancer Institute Marshall

1 CORINTHIANS 11:17-26, 33 • PSALM 40:7-8A, 8B-9, 10, 17 • JOHN 19:25-27 • LUKE 2:33-35

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