Tuesday, January 1, 2008

Labor Pains

Happy New Year!

We had a lovely sunrise Mass this morning in our not-quite-completed parish center. We sat in folding chairs under a partial roof that let the starlight in. Dozens of candles flickered. A capella hymns reverberated through framed but mostly uncovered walls. Gratitude presided for a project long in coming but now well on its way to completion.

In the homily, acts of kindness were described as "birthing Christ." I love the tangibility of this idea - of seeing myself as depositing Christ in various places and bringing life into the world through my actions. And of course it's exponential - good will begets good will, and we never know when the "paying it forward" ripples will stop... if ever.

The problem is this: how does one remain in this state of good will when one is not treated in kind? What if there are people in your life who continually challenge your equilibrium? In that case, "birthing Christ" can take much hard labor.

When I don't feel I've responded well, I have to remind myself of this. When Christ carried his cross, it was against great odds - he was beaten, exhausted, mocked, betrayed, he was going to his doom. Yet he picked it up and kept going - as best he could - after falling. We can keep trying, too, even after failing greatly, whatever odds we face.

We may need help. The King of the Universe needed it; who are we to resist? Simon the Cyrene was enlisted to carry Christ's cross with him. God will provide us with our Simon. Be open to whatever form Simon may take, and be unafraid to ask for him when you think he's needed.

And remember this. There are times when remaining silent is the act of greatest charity. Controlling our mouth and our impulses in and of itself can be an act of great love.

And finally, know when it's time to walk away. There are times for this. Love at a distance is still love, and great acts of charity can be performed unseen, on our knees.

Just as our parish center was years in the making, so can labor, and good relationships, and even acts of charity, be. May glorious births be the result of all our labor pains.

11 comments:

LSK49rs said...

You and I are TRULY sisters!

Esther said...

Toldja! :)

elizabeth said...

Great post! Good call on needing our "Simons."

Tam said...

Thanks for stopping by this evening and for your encouraging comment. I'm excited to see this to, and at, completion.

This is really a great post of yours. I love your writing first of all. And I too like the reminder of needing a Simon and not being too proud to ask for one. Great thoughts! Thanks for sharing!

Nice to meet you Esther...

Tam

Esther said...

Thanks for your sweet words, Tam. :)

Esther said...

Elizabeth, I needed one today & God provided! Thanks for visiting. :)

butch said...

Another great post; and I, too, like your analogy of 'birthing Christ' in our words and actions. And yes, when we need it most, to be received as given ... it is not. That is what keeps us striving for the perfection that will be ours only when we are in our Heavenly home with the Holy Trinity and our Blessed Mother.
DIEU TE BENISSE!! Cajun Sissy Macile

Esther said...

I have to give credit to our priest for the "birthing Christ" analogy. I just took it a little farther with the labor pains idea...
God bless you!

A Kite Rises said...

Hey Esther. I have left a little something for you on my blog/most recent post ; ) Happy new year.

Bill Donaghy said...

I'm tagging you, Esther, after your comment on my blog today! I loved your post on Labor Pains... no pain no gain, right? Easily said but often forgotten in the heat of it all. Peace and Good,
Bill

Esther said...

Thanks, Bill. :)