Earlier in the Spring, I was in Methuen, Massachusetts at St. Monica Catholic Church giving a day’s retreat for women. In my talk, I spoke of the loss of my son, Simon, and my husband Anthony in 2004 and 2007 respectively. I shared about the consolation I received from the prayers of so many, and the maternal beatitude our Blessed Mother continues to show me.
Following the talk, a sweet woman approached me with a knowing smile. She lost her son, too, she said. And then, quietly and simply, she told me her story. Her son was on Flight 11 out of Boston on September 11, 2001, which crashed into the North Tower of the World Trade Center at 8:46 AM. A young man full of promise and hope. A young man who, she later discovered, was well-known for his concern and care for the less fortunate and the poor.
For her, like for me, Our Blessed Mother had been and remains a consolation and a conduit of hope. This dear mother had a particular devotion to Our Lady of Beauraing and found in her and through her a “cause for joy” in the midst of her sufferings. Indeed, this graced woman had found a way to suffer well.
I have been reading a little book published by Sophia Institute Press by Marguerite Duportal called “How to Make Sense of Suffering.” This mother came to mind when I read this passage from this little gem of a book:
“Suffering willingly borne before God, in His presence, under His eyes, while the soul is in union with Him ‘who is,’ in union with all the good emanating from His power, becomes supremely sweet and consoling. This enduring of affliction for religious motives is opposed to that consuming sorrow of rebels against God and of unbelievers. The benefits deriving from this kind of suffering become inestimable, if only we are able to say these words from the bottom of our heart, in every sad or merely painful circumstance of life, ‘My God, I believe, I hope, and I love You. I accept.”
Such a reading causes us to ask some questions of ourselves: “To what extent have I suffered well in the major tragedies entrusted to me? Can I do better? Is there something now that is a present plight? What can I do today to help make this a means of union with God?
I will be forever grateful for the witness of this dear woman. May God bless her as she continues to see her tragedy with supernatural vision and for her courage which unites all of it to the Cross of Jesus, Our Lord. May each of us do the same.