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Friday 18th Week of the Year

Today’s Mass Readings

Friday 18th Week of the Year.

Matthew 16:24-28.

Letting go of ourselves can be the most freeing
experience of our lives.

It is common practice for someone to ask a priest
to anoint them with the Sacrament of the Sick before surgery.

It’s also very common to be anxious before surgery.

It can disrupt our lives such as the loss of work,
losing the ability to do the simplest things for ourselves.

 

Over time it can cause a lot of frustration,
anger and even a bout of depression.

One of the worst pains is the loneliness
that sometimes no one close can relate.

I can attest from my own experience
that there is a huge difference
between the physical pain
and the internal pain we cause ourselves
both mentally and emotionally.

 

Strange as it sounds, Jesus tells us
to pick up our cross of pain and suffering and follow him.

He knows that it is the only weapon
that gives us back our innermost self – our best self.

 

I remember a good friend of mine,
a Catholic psychiatrist telling me years ago after surgery,
“Embrace the pain, don’t fight it, embrace it.”

At first it sounded crazy – “Embrace it?”

When I did, I found myself so helpless
that I cried out to Jesus from a depth
I didn’t know was there, “help me, Lord Jesus.

“I can’t bear this suffering anymore.

 

The cross you carried up to Calvary weighed 300 pounds.

“Please yoke yourself to me and help me bear this cross,
with you at my side.

That was incredible how something inside of me changed.

 

The pain from the surgery was still there
but long gone was the worry, anxiety
and the way I was beating myself up with angry thoughts.

I realize later that through the grace of God
I was embracing myself and loving myself
through the pain.

Beating ourselves up with all kinds of craziness
is the part of ourselves that Jesus is telling us to deny,
the part that thinks we can do it ourselves without his help.

 

In reality, we are just fighting against ourselves,
the Lord and other people and we will never win that battle.

Letting go of ourselves can be the most freeing
experience of our lives.

Throw your arms around yourself
and embrace that pain and suffering with all your might.

 

Don’t fear to be helpless. The Lord hears the cry of the poor.

Jesus, I trust myself to you.

Rick Pilger

Father Pilger, I.C. was born in Canton, Illinois and was ordained at St. John’s Seminary, Wonersh, England in December 1978. He joined the Blessed Sacrament Parish in August 1995, coming here from Sacred Heart Parish in Bradenton Florida. After 22 years as Parochial Vicar, he was appointed Pastor by Bishop Gregory Parkes in June 20, 2017.

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