Editor’s note: This week, we are blessed to share a series of reflections from guest contributor Erin McGruder Helms. Please join us daily for Erin’s inspirational contributions as she reflects upon the Sorrowful Mysteries of the Rosary through the prism of her own life journey. Please join me in praying for Erin and her family, and for mothers everywhere who face health challenges. Lisa
Yesterday, I touched on how I cherish the Rosary and found parallels in its Mysteries and my journey with cancer. If you missed it, please feel free to read how I related to the first Sorrowful Mystery.
The second Sorrowful Mystery is the Scourging at the Pillar. The fruit is ‘Purity’.
I envision Jesus, remaining pure in His thoughts, mind, heart, and soul, during His scourging. I relate the scourging to surgery, chemotherapy, radiation, reconstruction, and even hormone therapy. I often felt beaten down and at my weakest throughout chemo. I felt the fatigue through radiation. I will forever have the scars from my port and surgeries. I struggled to think pure thoughts, that this was all for my continued healing of the body.
Each time I sat for chemo, and they punctured my port and connected drips and injected medicine, I had to remain pure in thought and remember this was not poison, as too many people liked to comment to me. This was healing me, purifying me. I focused on meditative, healing thoughts through all 33 rounds of radiation. (What a symbol – I saw them everywhere! No coincidence there are 33 years in Jesus’s life and “33 Days to Morning Glory”, another Fr. Gaitley book, which I read for my Marian Consecration.) Each time I laid on the table as the radiation machine moved around me, repositioning the lead plates as they formed themselves into various shapes targeting my chest wall and where my lymph nodes were removed, I needed to think pure and healing thoughts. Each time I laid completely still, holding my breath, listening to the long and short beeps as my radiation therapist pressed the button in the other room through a massively thick door, I prayed and held on to meditative thoughts, knowing that despite burning and blistering my skin, it was all part of my healing process. What helps you stay pure in your thoughts?
I recently reconnected with the song “Refiner’s Fire” and cherish the verses ‘purify my heart, cleanse me from within and make me holy’. Post-diagnosis, I started praying upon receiving the Eucharist, where I envision Christ’s body and blood coming into my body and blood, penetrating every cell of my being, purifying, healing, cleansing, eradicating any lingering cancerous cell in my body, removing anything ill, diseased or unhealthy, and replacing those cells with healthy cells, loving, compassionate, merciful, forgiving cells. I was taught when I was little that Jesus resides in me, but this took on a whole new meaning. I also believe Mary resides in us and of course the Holy Spirit from our Baptism. It gives me renewed confidence every time I receive the Eucharist, knowing they are within me to help and guide me. I struggle managing much on my own, but feel such strength and endurance when I trust and believe, knowing I have such an amazing ‘team’ within my soul!
Tomorrow I will review the third Sorrowful Mystery, the Crowning of Thorns.
Erin McGruder Helms grew up in Northern Virginia before attending the University of Florida, where she earned a Marketing degree in 2000. Upon graduation, she moved to Jacksonville to pursue a career in financial services. Erin is blessed with a loving husband and is grateful now to stay home with her three precious children. She delights in warm weather and outdoor family activities. Surrounded by caring friends and a supportive parish community, Erin enjoys participating in various spiritual growth studies and ministries.
Copyright 2015 Erin McGruder Helms