Kathleen Peterson

a disciple along the way

Father, Into Your Hands…

About 21 years ago our youngest daughter, Lillian, contracted a bronchial infection that almost took her life.

She couldn’t breathe, she was intubated, and she lived in a special tent for 5 days in the Neonatal Intensive Care Unit at St. Vincent Hospital.

She was only 18 months old.

I remember holding her tiny body after she was first intubated. There were all these wires and tubes and needles and she was in great pain.

I remember her looking up at me with these eyes that said, “Mommy, help me.”

I remember her looking up at me with these eyes that said, “Mommy, help me.”

I remember my heart literally hurting because I couldn’t.  And, there was no way for her to even remotely understand that what was being done to her was simply to keep her alive.

She was in pain.

She was scared.

She was confused.

And, she felt abandoned.

I’m sure many of you feel this way right now. We are living in strange times.

Never before has our world shut down so fast and in such a short amount of time. Never before has an illness spread so quickly and worldwide.

Loved ones can only connect over the phone or with computer if they have one. And, before the “Shelter at Home” order, many visited parents and grandparents with a pane of glass separating each other.

These new ways of communicating are leaving us feeling more isolated than ever.  We are possibly confused because we’re not getting information from the outside world as we quickly as we would like.  And when we do get it, it can leave us feeling panicked and anxious.

Some of us may be scared, worried that we might contract the virus or that our loved ones might get it.

And then there’s the question of “Do I wear a mask or not?”.  If not, am I considered selfish and uncaring?  If I do, will people consider me a fanatic?

Even though we know that the isolation order is in place is to keep us safe, it doesn’t take away the pain, frustration, confusion, and fear. And in such times, it’s difficult to remember that this isolation is really for our good and the good of those we love.

Now, normally on Good Friday when the Passion of our Lord is read, it’s done so as a community. The faithful in the pews typically respond as the ‘crowd’, as Jesus is betrayed, tried, wrongly convicted, carries His cross, and dies. “Crucify Him!” is our cry.

As difficult as it was to say those word, we participated in the reading because the spiritual reality is that with every sin we commit or every good that we omit, our hand is on the hammer coming down on the nails.

It was often easy to enter into the Good Friday service with a mournful, somber, and repentant disposition. We wept for our involvement in the crucifixion of Christ.

But this year is different.

Due to the pandemic, many of us are already finding this time to be mournful, bitter, and painful.  How can we possibly go deeper?
Maybe we need to readjust our focus.

Yes, we still participate in the Passion.

Yes, Jesus allowed Himself to be Crucified for the sins that WE commit – the sins of the whole world and throughout all of history: past, present, and future.

And, yes, each of us has played a part in His death.

But, I propose that this year we focus on the WHY.

Why did Our Lord choose to suffer? Why did His Father allow it?  Why did God not intervene?

The answer is LOVE.

The answer is LOVE.

God wanted us to live with Him.  The horrible death of Jesus, His Son, was the only way. And, Jesus knew it.

Love for us was the cause for the Passion of Christ.

It’s difficult to understand, but we must place all of our trust in God the Father just as Jesus did.

I needed my baby to suffer through the treatment so that she could recover and thrive.

We need the world to self-isolate so that we can heal from the virus.

And Christ had to endure the Cross so that heaven and life with God might be open to us.

This year, let’s focus on the anguished prayer of Jesus to His Father, for these words truly apply to us all:

“Father, into Your Hands, I commend My Spirit.”

Pray for me as I pray for you!

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