Suffering is conquered by love

Have you lost a loved one recently? I would like to tell you about one of our Holy Spirit residents who touched us in her own special way.

In Luke’s gospel (Chapter 8: 40-48), we hear of a woman who suffered from bleeding for 12 years, until she boldly touched the garment of Jesus and was miraculously healed. We could rewrite this gospel today about Lorraine and her sister Elaine, who both suffered for 70-some years with some debilitating afflictions.

In 2 Corinthians 12: 8-10, St. Paul begged the Lord to remove the thorn from his side, and the Lord said, “No, my grace is enough for you.”

Did Lorraine understand what was happening to her? Did she appeal to the Lord, as St. Paul did?

Even though she couldn’t express it, Lorraine certainly had to question in some way, “Why is this happening to me?”

St. John Paul II, in his apostolic letter on the Christian meaning of human suffering said, “The quest for an answer can be found in Jesus Christ, who said, “Suffering is conquered by love.”

On Saturday night, as residents were listening to the songs of Lawrence Welk, Lorraine was the closest to the TV set. Was she listening to the wonderful words of the vocalists and the beautiful melody of the piano or accordian players? Between Lorraine and the television set stood a piano. With all of the force of a hawk seeking its prey, dive-bombing at 200 miles per hour, her hands began slamming down on the keys with jack hammer power. The residents seemed to be utterly struck with awe, saying nothing, holding their breath.

The tenderness she showed, cradling her doll, whom she referred to as “her baby,” the fearful joy of going to the same place Elaine was and has now gone to herself one year, ten months and two days later.

Jesus reminds us still that in our joys and sorrows, his grace is enough for us. For in weakness power reaches perfection, for we are strong in the Lord.

In the song “Softly As I Leave You,” Frank Sinatra sings:

Softly, I will leave you softly

For my heart would break if you should wake and see me go

So I leave you softly, long before you miss me

Long before your arms beg me to stay

For one more hour or one more day

After all the years, I can’t bear the tears to fall

So, softly as I leave you there

Softly, long before you kiss me

Long before your arms can beg me stay

For one more hour or one more day

After all the years, I can’t bear the tears to fall

So, softly as I leave you there

As I leave I you there

As I leave I you there

Lorraine quietly left us. And, now she loudly proclaims the glories of God. Loved ones have left us, too. May they rest in peace.

Father Dennis Meinen serves as chaplain at Holy Spirit Retirement Home, Sioux City, for Boy Scouts and Girl Scouts in the diocese and Calix; and Faithful Friar of the Garrigan 4th Degree Assembly of the Knights of Columbus, Algona.

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