“Taking control” of our lives is often associated with freedom and independence. However, when one finds himself in the grip of disability and illness, control is the first gift that is sacrificed. Control is relinquished with great suffering at the heart of our emotions. We loose a great deal of our independence and our freedom. Our will is humbled. Our pride sliced in half by the invisible sword, not because we have deserved it, but because we have been chosen. Those who suffer from long term illness and disability have received the privileged gift of being a spiritual warrior if we choose to accept it. Our broken bodies and/or our broken minds are offered up for the good of our soul and dare I say it for all of humanity. God always comes with good purpose and good intent especially when it is veiled in brokenness. He calls the broken to be leaders on this journey of life. Our leadership is not to be found on the physical plane but more on the spiritual plane. St. Paul pleads with Christ Jesus three times to spare him of his affliction. Christ says to Paul however, “My grace is sufficient for you, Paul.” (2Cor ch12v8) Many commentators have argued over the years just what type of affliction Paul had. They came to the conclusion that it was an affliction to his eyes. After his encounter with the Christ, the Anointed One, Paul was blinded for three days. Just as Christ Jesus was entombed for three days so too was Paul entombed in darkness for three days. (Acts ch9v9) It was the power of Christ Jesus through the hands of Peter that the scales fell from his eyes and his sight was restored. The broken are called to show those who are struggling in this world the strength of God’s compassion, love and mercy. God’s healing shines through the brokenness of our bodies. We do not “put the light that shines from a lantern under a bushel basket, but place it on a lamp stand that all may see from its brightness.” (Matt ch5 v15) We were chosen by God. We would not usually chose to be disabled or suffer a long term illness, for brokenness always yearns to be made whole. I found myself fighting against my reality of disability and suffering for many years. But for my spirit, the part of my being that lasts forever, I saw the physical brokenness as weakness. But, in fact, it is just the opposite. Brokenness is strength in the eyes of God. When the soldier pierced the side of Christ Jesus blood and water began to flow from His side and the Church, the family of God, took root and bloomed. All was made whole in this, the greatest act of brokenness and lose of control. What does it mean that “all was made whole” when all we see around us is brokenness in our physical world? When we begin to view our world through the eyes of the spirit we begin to live in the eternal. We see the eternal within the brokenness of our disability and within the suffering that accompanies it. The disabled and the long suffering are indeed warriors of the spirit. We are chosen out of the many to lead in spiritual warfare. Maybe today is the day you pick up your sword and ride into the realms of the spirit where all will be made whole again. Remember, there is purpose in disability, in long term-illness. There redemptive qualities reside in the realm of the spirit and the corporeal works of mercy. If you question the reason why you are disabled or are suffering so much with illness contemplate the spirit. Your answers might just be found and you too become a spiritual warrior.
Pax et Bonum,
Hermits of St. Giles
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