Relocation has been a part of my life since I was a young child. My…
“I feel like I’m in hell.”
During times of intense suffering, it is not uncommon to hear someone relate their experience to being in hell. In fact, I hear it said often in the course of ministry to those recovering from the effects of traumatic circumstances. Of course, we understand the essence of what is being conveyed by using this cliche, but a particular sentence from a reflection I read recently jumped out and got me thinking…
“You may be experiencing a sort of hell on earth. Nevertheless, think of what hell really is. The Church teaches that hell is “the definitive self-exclusion from communion with God and the blessed” (CCC1033).” – Father Andrew Hofer, O.P.
In the midst of our suffering, I pray, we cry out to God, imploring His relief and His mercy! This is a movement towards heaven, not hell!
Hell is not a lack of health or provision, nor is it the presence of physical disease or emotional pain, as difficult and trying as these experiences can be. Our Lord promises that He is “close to the brokenhearted and delivers those whose spirit has been crushed” (ref Ps 34:18). He is nearer to us than we may imagine, even as our physical senses may lead us to believe the opposite. Lord, grant us the grace to journey to the place within our very selves where we are always in Your Presence.
“Christ dwells in your hearts through faith, that you may be rooted and grounded in love.” – Eph 3:17
Father Hofer relates the inner reality of Christ’s abiding presence in our hearts, and what that can mean for us during times of suffering, to the lit tabernacle candle. He says, “This candle is always in the process of being consumed and therefore needs to be tended to. It actually signifies the Real Presence. The sanctuary candle’s flickering flame emphasizes the present tense of Christ’s abiding with us. It says to us that He is here now” (Magnificat magazine, August 2023).
Have you ever entered a Catholic Church when it is empty and quiet? What comfort it brings to witness the flickering flame of the tabernacle candle. “I am here,” He says, “I am right here.” He speaks of His Real Presence, not only in the tabernacle of the Church, but also in the tabernacle of your heart.
Perhaps you are currently journeying through a period of suffering or darkness. Cry out to our Lord, Who is “Light from light.” He who is Light shines brightest against the backdrop of our darkness. Let us turn towards Him – interiorly, in the Church tabernacle, and in the Eucharist – and allow His Light to bring everything into view.
Oh Lord, I long to draw closer to You, the One who is the Remedy for my suffering and the Healing for my heart, mind, body and soul. You are the “way, the truth and the life,” and my heart yearns to be drawn into the fullness of communion with You. Perhaps this happens most efficaciously in the darkness of suffering. Teach me, Lord, that I may remain steadfast and faithful to You in this present darkness. Amen.
Copyright 2024 – De Yarrison