I must admit, even though I am a consecrated hermit and religious brother for twenty four years now, I still question the meaning of our suffering on a daily basis. I believe in God. I believe in Christ Jesus. I believe in His Mother Mary, the Queen of Sorrows. I trust that the suffering that I have endured each day will indeed help others and myself in some way on this road to Heaven. I don’t understand how it all works right now, but when I die and I trust I will have the opportunity to speak with God and I am sure He will tell me all about it. I want to share my life with you as much as I can. I was born with a very rare illness. Doctors now call it Proteus Syndrome. I believe it’s more like Cloves Syndrome. For thirty-five years I was told I had Neurofibromatosis. Maybe a mixture of all of them. When I was born doctors and nurses took me away from my mom for three days because they thought I would not live more than 24 hours. My mom told me many years later that she roamed the halls of the hospital at night looking for me. I can’t imagine the anguish that must have been in her heart while she looked for me. When I think about my mom and all she endured on account of me, she often takes my mind right to a meditation on the life of our Blessed Mother Mary. Our Blessed Mother was nine months pregnant when She made the trip to Bethlehem. Traveling mile after mile on the back of a donkey. Each bounce on the donkey’s back must have brought shots of pain like lightning bolts radiating through Her muscles. The fatigue in Her back more than likely made way for a massive headache. I’m sure St. Joseph did as much as he could to comfort Her, still the trip must have been grueling. Arriving at their destination, Bethlehem, brought with it a whole new set of difficulties. There were thousands of people converging there for the census, so there were no rooms anywhere for Her to find privacy and rest for Her wearied body. Only one lady gave Her a break, leading them to a cave where the barn animals found shelter when bad weather ensued. That cave must have been freezing cold, damp and smelt something awful. She never complained though. Joseph must have been scratching his head frequently, wondering what it’s all about. He lived his life out of a deep relationship with God. His heart must have been full of the virtue Faith. He trusted in the holy angel that appeared in his dreams and gave to God his complete self to do his part in God’s unfolding plan. During this Advent and Christmas Season I unite all myself with the Holy Family and trust in the suffering I am called to endure. I believe and I must trust that our suffering truly does become a healing balm for the salvation of the world. May you wrap your loving arms around the baby Jesus this Christmas and offer your daily sufferings along with me for the salvation of our world.
Love and Prayers to You and Your Families,
Hermits of St. Giles
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