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The Christophers: All Shall Be Well



Fr. Ed Dougherty, M.M.,

The Christophers’ Board of Directors



Psalm 121 opens with the question: “I lift up my eyes to the hills – from where will my help come?” That question is answered in the following line: “My help comes from the Lord, who made heaven and earth.”

This rhythm of questioning and then answering in a constant search for relief from suffering is found throughout the Psalms. Reflecting upon this in a column for Aleteia, Kathleen N. Hattrup writes, “In the Psalms…suffering is transformed into a question. From suffering to questioning.… And among the many questions, there is one that remains suspended, like an incessant cry that runs throughout the entire book from beginning to end. A question that we repeat many times: ‘Until when, Lord? Until when?’”

Humanity’s enduring question to God over our sufferings finds its ultimate expression in Christ’s cry from the cross, “My God, My God, why have You forsaken me?” It is in this cry of abandonment that Christ meets us all in our most profound moments of anguish, and it is in the aftermath of this moment that God gives His answer for all eternity about the sufferings of this world. It is not an answer that comes immediately, as we know that God allowed Christ to experience the most extreme anguish and ultimately death. But it is an answer that comes in God’s time, and that answer is one of mercy, redemption, and ultimate resurrection.

In her book Revelations of Divine Love, 14th century English mystic Julian of Norwich describes a time when she was 30 years old and fell so ill that she was given last rites. She had become paralyzed, and it seemed certain she was going to die. In this near-death state, she received a series of visions of God, Jesus, and the Virgin Mary, and she heard these comforting words spoken to her, “All shall be well, and all shall be well, and all manner of things shall be well.”

This message resounds as the answer God gives to us all in times of turmoil. It is a message of spiritual peace that can calm our hearts even amid life’s most turbulent storms. God wants us to be at peace and to trust that we can make it through even the most difficult trials, and He wants us to arrive at this for the reason given by the Psalmist, “My help comes from the Lord, who made heaven and earth.”

In his letter to the Philippians, Saint Paul writes, “Do not worry about anything, but in everything by prayer and supplication with thanksgiving let your requests be made known to God. And the peace of God, which surpasses all understanding, will guard your hearts and your minds in Christ Jesus.”

We must bring all our cares to God and lay them at the foot of the cross, joining our suffering to Christ’s offering to redeem all of humanity. And we must come to see our prayers in light of Christ’s cry from the cross and the rhythm found in the Psalms in which suffering is transformed into questions. Only then will our burdens be lifted as we come to see our own trials as part of a grander whole in which God does provide answers—and those answers open a window onto the mystery of His unbounded love for each one of us, a love that leads us to know, “All shall be well, and all shall be well, and all manner of things shall be well.”

 

For free copies of the Christopher News Note BECOME LIKE CHILDREN TO ENTER HEAVEN, write: The Christophers, 5 Hanover Square, New York, NY 10004; or e-mail: mail@christophers.org







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