Thursday, January 02, 2014


I awoke a few days ago with enough leg and lower spine pain to call the 24 hour health help line which, not to aggravate my American cousins, is part of universal medical care in this country.
After consultation with the nurse who took my call she recommended a visit to emergency and, checking on her computer the various wait times at the area hospitals, told me which one had the shortest wait time.
I called a friend who took me to emergency.
After presenting my health card the intake nurse checked my vitals and my blood pressure was a rather high 185/107!
I am on two kinds of blood pressure medication at the moment {at my age prescriptions costs for myself, what in the US is called “co-pay”, is a flat 3$ per} and have a little machine which I use three times a day to monitor my blood pressure which earlier today was a better 138/36!
Frankly this whole bit has been an emotional kick in the stomach, spiritually a real battle for I find the two great struggles are to learn about necessary changes in diet, for example, and to trust the Lord only permits what is best for us, as we read in Romans He loves us so much that: “We know that by turning everything to their good God co-operates with all those who love Him, with all those He has called according to His purpose.” [8:28]
I have three priest-friends, each about ten years older than I am, who in the weeks before Christmas themselves have been asked to embrace the cross of sickness, one of them for whom the prognosis is two months before death.
When I turned fifty and was helping with the haying and found I had to use both hands to lift and heft the bales, rather than grabbing a bale in each hand and tossing one after the other up into the wagon, it was a huge shock because my body was telling me something I did not want to hear, much less accept.
In reality I was struggling with God.
He was saying: “Arthur, will you give Me both your hands and your age.”, and I was saying: “Not now Lord, later. Please!”
With high blood pressure He is not asking for my life, though when He does I trust His promise: “Do not let your hearts be troubled… in Me….after I have gone and prepared a place for you, I shall return to take you with Me…..”[cf. Jn.14:1-4]
So now He is asking, simply, gently really, for with high blood pressure there is no experience of pain: “Arthur, will you give Me your sense of invincibility, will you trust Me?”
Today a friend called and asked if I would listen to an essay they have written about truth, reality, relativism, war, resistance to evil and his essay and a note informing me about a priest brutally murdered today in California by someone who broke into the rectory, are a reality check.
The only doorway into heaven is Jesus Himself and the only way He crosses the threshold to take us by the hand and bring us to be with Him forever is the threshold of death, which means as Scripture says He comes as a thief in the night, that is totally unexpectedly when, for all intents and purposes, we are most likely least prepared, though if we struggle to lead a full baptized life we will be as ready as needed.
Are our brothers and sisters who live in countries at war, filled with violent insurgency, secret police, and concentration camps ready?
Perhaps, rather than bemoan this wee medical thing I could offer the struggle to Jesus through Mary for all those who do not have universal medical care, for all victims of violence, for everyone facing death or just the unexpected challenges of daily life.
No, definitely, for ultimately Jesus is inviting me to be one with Him in His constant intercession with the Father for all of us.

1 comment:

kam said...

Thank you, Father for a subject that is close to all of our hearts; our health and how it relates to our way towards Heaven. You touched upon many subjects and have given me many hours of contemplation, thank you. I myself have many aches and pains, (lower back, leg, shoulders wrists, severely bowed legs, you name it, I have it.) Thank you for helping me to contemplate this life of semi-pain in a way that will be pleasing to God.