Study: Recall a moment when someone really understood you. You felt safe, relaxed, and at peace knowing that you were loved completely and sincerely.
Pray: Take a moment to open your heart to Jesus. You might want to read/pray the readings today (especially the 2nd reading from Hebrews) and gaze at the Cross.
Serve: Is there someone in your life you can reach out to? Is there someone with whom you might be able to be present without judgment or bias – but simply meet them where they are in kindness, respect, and love?
During my study as a seminarian I served as a chaplain at a hospital. I had the opportunity to work with a rich diversity of people from a variety of skills and backgrounds. Through this time I learned much about my strengths and weaknesses as a minister.
One day I was assigned to visit a man who had a heart attack. He was unhappy, sullen, and angry at me (and everyone else who came in). He kept claiming that he was “as healthy as an ox” and had “never been sick a day,” but we could all see that his life was in a fragile state.
In my visit I tried to speak about some of the topics that the doctors and nurses had been urging: physical exercise, diet, use of alcohol, stress, and other related issues. He refused to speak. He shouted, insulted, complained, and denied the fact that he even needed to be in the hospital!
I (being very inexperienced at the time) thought I could wear him down by simply being more stubborn – sitting there and listening until he just ran out of air. Suddenly, a middle-aged man walked in the room and asked me if he could visit with the patient alone for a few minutes.
I stepped outside, visited a few patients, and after about an hour I saw the man come out of the room with a big smile. He went over to the nurse on duty and informed her that the patient was willing to listen to any medical advice and act on it!
When I asked him what happened, he said, “You see, I was once like him – in the hospital bed, denying everything, angry at everyone, and blaming every person – except the only one who could make a change…ME! I showed him my scars, told him about the procedures, the medications, and the fact that I feel better now then I ever have.”
He then looked at me and continued, “I guess he just needed to hear it from someone who knows what it’s like. Someone who understands because he’s been through it.”
We see a similar connection in the book of Hebrews today. Jesus became like us – he suffered, died, and rose from the dead that sin and death might no longer have power. He knows what it’s like to face the challenges and burdens of life, and because he understands, he is able to help us, guide us, and strengthen us in our moments of need.
Perhaps now is the time to recognize that the Lord knows us. He knows what it’s like to face the challenges of life, and we can rejoice that the Master of the Universe comprehends our hearts – better then we do! Maybe today is our chance to stop and turn to the Lord and allow him to love us. Perhaps all we really have to do is stop “doing” for a moment and “be” present to Jesus.
It’s good to have a friend who knows exactly what we are going through and helps us on the way!
Note: This post was first published on January 26, 2014.