April 18, 2014
One of the most challenging part of my job as director of FrancisCorps is also the most inspiring part of my ministry. Over time I really get to know our FrancisCorps volunteers and they share with me the stories of the people they meet at their various places where they serve the poor.
Sometimes the stories are sweet tales of children causing chaos or others of their frustration with people not being grateful for what they get. And then there are times, very special times when the volunteers get to touch the wood of the Cross.
Carolyn was a volunteer a couple of years ago and she worked with disabled children. One of her classrooms was for children who are deaf, blind and developmentally challenged. What Carolyn didn’t fully grasp at first was that every one of the kids in her class was blind, deaf and developmentally challenged. I can still see the look on her face as Carolyn talked about these children. It was a look of shame and confusion wondering why the children were alive. It was a look of anger and frustration at a God who allows this to happen. What’s the point of all this suffering?
As time went on though, Carolyn began to get to know the kids and her love for them grew and she recognized in them the wonderful persons that they are. Carolyn’s heart grew. Carolyn is not alone in her experience. So many of our FrancisCorps volunteers face situations of pain and injustice; whether it be a women beaten by an abusive husband, a child infested with lice because of a mother’s negligence, or a teen mom, raped by an uncle they see it first hand, up close and personal. But sometimes it’s just too much to bear.
These stories of pain and injustice speak to us because they are not foreign. Each one of us has confronted the reality of evil in our own lives. Whether it be cancer, or divorce, unemployment or grief we’ve all had moments of pain when we’ve felt alone and wondered where is God in all this. It’s too much to bear.
The answer is in the wood of the Cross. What started off as a sapling that become the Christmas tree lighting up the winter night with the joy, has been cut down and been made into the instrument of our salvation. Emmanuel, God-made-flesh at Christmas, because of his love for us, now bears the weight of our pain along side of us. Jesus suffered and died on the Cross so that no one on earth would ever suffer alone. Jesus always goes before us, no matter what we face.
My friend Carolyn’s heart grew huge out of love for the kids which she served. Jesus’ Sacred Heart grows ever greaterout of love for the people he saves.