The “aloneness” of ministering to the sin-sick … Tuesday, February 12

English: Pope Benedict XVI during general audition

English: Pope Benedict XVI during general audition (Photo credit: Wikipedia)

A Rosary Meditation … The First Sorrowful Mystery, the Agony in the Garden. “And when he was gone forward a little, he fell flat on the ground; and he prayed, that if it might be, the hour might pass from him.” Mark 14:35. Solitary prayer. His friends were nearby its true, but given the seriousness of the moment, given the weight of our sins on His shoulders, and the gut wrenching, heart-rending knowledge of what was to come, its hard to imagine how anyone could have been any more alone. With people so close by there was nobody so near as to be able to penetrate this abandonment. In a way the “My God, my God, why have you forsaken me?” begins here. He resigns Himself to the carrying of the cross, laden with our sins, transgressions that would make Him sin for us, “Him, who knew no sin, he hath made sin for us, that we might be made the justice of God in him.” 2 Corinthians 5:21, and being made sin made separated from God in the process. This is what sin does. It causes a rift between the sinner and God. There is no state more lonely than this. Hell, with all its multitude, is the loneliest place imaginable. Consider, when tempted, that Jesus was alone so that you needn’t be.

Today … St. Ethelwald was Bishop of Lindisfame, England, a disciple of St. Cuthbert. Ethelwald served as prior and then abbot of Old Melrose in Scotland. Bishop, prior, abbot, priest. Think about these offices and the responsibilities that go with them. The next time you see your parish priest consider what a lonely job his can be. Maybe invite him to your place for a meal? Maybe just say, “Thank you, father.”

Prayers … For Pope Benedict XVI, who has served God’s people well and is doing what he believes is best for God’s Church now. Remember that he may well have “inside information”. 🙂 And prayers also for our new Holy Father, whose name we’ll know soon enough. God bless, keep, and guide them both.