Pangs of Strife

When a woman is in labor, she is in anguish because her hour has arrived; but when she has given birth to a child, she no longer remembers the pain because of her joy that a child has been born into the world. So you also are now in anguish. But I will see you again, and your hearts will rejoice, and no one will take your joy away from you. (John 16:21-22)

I’ve never given birth. I think we men, and everyone who has never borne the pain of childbirth–we have to concede to mothers the definitive interpretation of John 16:21.

Leonardo da Vince Madonna and ChildBut:

What about when the bishop suddenly decides to re-assign you to a place 70 minutes away from your mother, who lives in an assisted-living facility (which right now is across the street)? How about when ecclesiastical authority arbitrarily wounds the heart of the woman who endured the pangs of childbirth so that you could come into the world?

Not to mention tearing you away from the ministry that you feel like you have just begun, and the people whom you feel like you have just gotten to know and love, and the routines that you have just gotten used to?

And all of this for no evident reason?

So I guess we all have our share in the agony which our Lord uses as His metaphor in John 16:21.

Nonetheless, I have it on good authority: the pain of childbirth does end. This bitter strife doesn’t last forever.

Our loving brother Jesus, very much alive and well, ascended somewhere beyond this veil of tears. He dwells in a place where everything makes perfect sense to everybody. And you never have to say goodbye. And your mother never has to suffer just because your bishop is apparently a mean person.

What makes us Christians is that we believe in that place, the place where the Lord Jesus now lives. And we know that, when we cling to Him, we can find our way there.

4 thoughts on “Pangs of Strife

  1. May God forgive the human side of our Church in authority that ruins the spirit of this good man. Nicely said Father Mark with scripture to verify this time of pain

  2. Dear Father Mark, I am so saddened, heartbroken, and angry by this abrupt re-assignment! When I heard about how reverent and devout you are with the entire Holy Mass and the Sacrament of the Holy Eucharist, I had to come to Roanoke (from Bedford) to truly witness for myself. Well, I decided I needed something new, (for a little while) and what I call a “retreat” for myself. (St. Andrews is where I was brought up). So, for 3 months, I came to the 7:30am Mass. Don’t get me wrong, I really enjoyed Father Matt and Father Jose; however, you truly opened my heart, mind, faith, and personal prayer life (more) through your reverence in your Homilies, but mostly the Holy Eucharist! I cannot thank you enough for the gifts you have personally given me…for bringing me closer to all Three…The Holy Trinity! I know you aren’t acting on your own behalf, or through your own powers. You are acting for Christ. And that’s why, despite all the attacks, you will prevail! Thank you, Father Mark, for being Christ for all of us! I have included you in my morning prayers and The Divine Mercy Chaplet. May God continue to bless you, for all of the sacrifices you fulfill of ‘making it in the world’ in order to give us a chance to make it in the next world. You don’t take on jobs; they are appointed to you. You put your own will at the disposal of the church, for us. Please keep us posted on your future journey. Love and Blessings!

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