To quote a phrase very commonly used in our group, "Praise God!"
This morning I found myself nearly collapsing on the floor at Mass, as the result of 2 1/2 weeks of hobbling on leg injuries without seeing a doctor. Last year, while doing a similar pro-life walk, I watched as three girls ended up in the hospital- one of which had to sit out for a month, and another who ended up leaving us because she needed to be on bed rest for 6 weeks in order to heal. I was the lucky one last year. I didn't have a single injury. I was quite amazed, as my body is fairly fragile. I promised myself that if I ever got injuries, I wouldn't let it go for long. But I admit that I am human, and in my humanness, like all of us at some time or another, I have let an injury continue before seeking adequate and appropriate help.
So today, all of us girls embarked on a grand adventure to the emergency room at Cheshire Medical Center in Keene, NH. This proved to be another adventure in spiritual warfare, as satan obviously did not want me to get to the hospital, because for some reason the car would not start. This resulted in an emergency novena being prayed by all, and a break down on my part- I began to cry because the prayer and the atmosphere of spiritual warfare (God's will against satan's attacks) was so emotional. Jesus and Our Blessed Mother pulled through quickly, as always, and got us to the hospital safe and sound. My legs were iced, examined, and X-rayed, and I still do not know the full diagnosis; but not to fear- it isn't anything to be worried about. For the most part it's messed up shin splints.
The past 3 weeks I have wanted so badly to walk, but God had a different plan. It's very embarrassing, annoying, frusterating, and most definitely humbling to be sitting in the van most of the day, just reading, writing, praying, and sleeping, while everyone else enjoys the sunshine and nature and gets to know one another better; to have both the guys and the girls carrying me back and forth, up and down several flights of stairs, across parking lots, and even into bathrooms (which I try to accept with a sense of humor... because... come on, you have to laugh at yourself sometimes, otherwise you will end up depressed. Plus, how many 23 year olds get several piggy-back rides per day?)
Being in pain brings a whole new perspective and dimension to understanding the Theology of the Body. In being a Catholic, and realizing the infinite value of redemptive suffering, I've offered it all up, uniting every pain and frustration to Christ's own sufferings in His great Love and Passion and Death on the Cross, hoping that something good will come out of it. After all, the purpose of the first month of this walk, in many ways, is to sacrifice for others, and offer up prayers for them constantly. God chose my body as an instrument for this mission, and perhaps this is the way He wants to work through me right now. In lifting up the pain into his hands, He can in turn bless others and convert hearts. Maybe even save babies. That is my hope. And that is why redemptive (or sacrificial) suffering rules. (Man, I love being Catholic!) When our pains are united to Christ, and we offer up prayers, suffering is not in vain. It has great purpose; much greater than we could ever imagine.
Here is a little description of redemptive suffering, taken from consecration.com:
"Theology of Redemptive Suffering:
Sacrificial suffering is a rich Christian faith expression, modeled after Christ himself. It is a partial answer to the age-old question, "Why does God allow human suffering?" The Church has always taught that physical pain, mental distress, even minor annoyances, are not meaningless but are meant to be put to valuable use. As Jesus used the anguish of his Passion and the agony of Calvary to accomplish our salvation, so do our sufferings have supernatural value when joined to the Cross. By willingly accepting our struggles and presenting them back to God as a "burnt offering" for the intentions of others, we cooperate with Christ and become real participators in the mystery of his saving act."
God bless you all; you are in my prayers. Please pray for us as we continue on this journey with Christ, walking alongside Him, both in joys and in sufferings. Pray for us to be protected against the snares of the devil. Pray that God will use each of us, and our bodies, to glorify His Kingdom, and to truly (and literally!) bring the Theology of the Body to the streets!