At the very end of October, our family was having a string of stressful days. Several people were struck with a very sore throat, cough, cold, and low-grade fevers. We had an overloaded schedule and were trying to find balance between what we could still keep up with and what needed to be set aside and forgotten so that our priorities remained in the proper order. Add to that some discord within the extended family circles, school work, and every other usual daily duty that was still beckoning for our attention, and WHAM!
You get S-T-R-E-S-S…big time.
As many mommies can probably relate, I don’t usually get sick when my family is ill. We mothers are just given a special grace that allows us to keep going (even when we’re under the weather a tad) in order to care for those who need us. This time, however, I was struck with the same awful sore throat, hacking cough, and terrible, terrible headache that the kids had been suffering in the days before.
I felt very sad when I realized how ill I was, for I knew that it was the day that we were supposed to go to our parish All Saints Day party and the kids had worked so hard on their costumes. I broke the news to them and promised that we’d do our best to throw together a nice celebration, complete with treats and games, right at home. (We did just that and everyone really enjoyed themselves!)
Sometime near evening, I was feeling the need for a moment of quiet and peace…the stresses of the past couple of weeks had piled up to a big heaping headache in me and I felt on the verge of tears. Not wanting to ruin the festive atmosphere of the day, I simply went quietly off to my room, closed the door, and sat on the edge of my bed where I can look at the front window and see our beautiful trees, barn, and fields.
I began to talk to Jesus, telling Him how much I loved Him and how I know that He understands how very hard life on earth can get sometimes. I told Him that I truly wanted to be centered in His will and to lovingly accept any and all trials and sufferings that come my way for the sake of His passion, death, and resurrection.
“Still”, I told Him…”it would be sooooo much easier if I could just see You and visit with You from time to time….I know that the time when You walked on this earth is now in the past…but….sometimes, Lord, I really wish that I, like Peter and John and James and the others….could have You here with me in Your physical presence….I just know it would make everything so much easier to bear”.
I immediately felt relieved at having shared my heart with Christ. And, as I sat in the quiet peace of His love, I noticed a car coming down my driveway. (Odd, I thought, since we had not invited anyone over and most of our friends knew we were ill that day)
I dried my tears, and for a moment, almost laughed…thinking, “Here I am, asking Jesus for relief, and He sends me a guest to entertain, instead”.
Still, I resigned myself to what I had promised Him a few moments earlier…that I truly wish to do His will…and so I thought, as I put on my sweater and headed for the living room with tissues in hand, that I would do my best to joyfully welcome the person at my door and accept the situation as something God was allowing in order to help me grow.
When I got to the door, I saw my beloved pastor…Father Jack Lombardi…he smiled gently and said, “Hello Judy…I came to visit you because I heard you weren’t feeling well, and I’ve brought the Eucharist, if you would like to receive”.
My eyes filled with tears and I was unable to speak for a few moments.
Just seconds ago, in the privacy of my room, I had lamented to Jesus that I wished so much that He could visit me…and within thirty seconds….He arrived! He came to me!
All I could think of, as poor Father Jack wondered why I was looking so dumbfounded…is how much I wished Colleen Spiro could be at my house at that moment….”Blueberry Muffins! This is my Blueberry Muffin!” (If you’ve not read Colleen’s book, you will not understand that comment…but I will explain later…)
Dear, sweet, loving Jesus came to pay me a personal visit…He was letting me know that in my pastor, I have “Alter Christus” (another Christ; and so, in essence…a “human form” of Himself still on this earth)…and that in the Eucharist, I have His True, physical presence.
I was so humbled and so blessed by this amazing gift. I was experiencing a living proof of “Ask and it shall be given unto you”, “Seek and ye shall find”.
Jesus loves us so much. And I learned that sometimes, in the midst of chaos or stress or discord, the enemy wishes to confuse and frustrate us…he wishes us to believe that we are alone, or lonely, or forgotten.
Even though I knew I was not forgotten that day…I had, indeed, been feeling weighed down under the cross…I felt in need of a friend…but not just any friend…I felt the need of being able to see Jesus…to visit with Him…to have Him over for a cup of coffee and a friendly conversation.
I should have known, that all I needed to do was ask….because that is exactly what He gave to me…He came to visit me!
I can not express the deep love and appreciation I feel. I can not adequately describe the transformation and validation this brought to my soul about many things.
But, I can assure you…any of you, who might be struggling, or doubting, or searching…He IS with you. And, He cares about every little daily detail of your life…He will even come over for coffee if you ask Him!
Note: Colleen Spiro is a wonderful online friend of mine, who has written several great books, one of which is entitled “Blueberry Muffins”. It is a compilation of stories about how God reaches out to His children in some very tangible and often unexpected ways, to assure them of His presence. For Colleen, that assurance came in the form of some blueberry muffins one day….for me, Judy…it came in the form of my parish priest and Christ in the Holy Eucharist.
Copyright 2010 Judy Dudich