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 greater
out of love for the people he saves.