By Barb Arland-Fye
Last Friday (March 25), as my son Patrick read the conclusion to “Everyone’s Way of the Cross” by Clarence Enzler, I felt a stirring in my heart. “So seek me not in far-off places. I am close at hand. Your workbench, office, kitchen, these are altars where you offer love. And I am with you there. Go now! Take up your cross and with your life complete your way.”
Enzler’s “Way of the Cross” deepens my meditation on the Passion of Jesus as we journey through Lent. It has become a tradition to pray this particular version of the Stations of the Cross on Friday nights during Lent at Our Lady of the River Parish in LeClaire, for which I am grateful.
Published 52 years ago, “Everyone’s Way of the Cross,” invites readers “to grow closer to Christ by embracing the mystery of suffering in the world,” Ave Maria Press says. For me, that approach makes the Way of the Cross timeless and personal. I work for the Church, so growing closer to Christ should come naturally, right? Even in the middle of Lent, I can get distracted and preoccupied and miss the signs of Christ in my life. These “14 steps” that I take each Friday during Lent, refocus my attention.
“So seek me not in far-off places….” I sought God at the start of the day, March 25, thinking about my older son Colin, whose birthday was that day. Our family has leaned into God from the day of Colin’s birth to guide us through Colin’s life with autism and help us to appreciate the gifts of our first-born son.
I sought God as I knelt on the carpeted floor of Sacred Heart Cathedral in Davenport during recitation of the rosary March 25. We recited the rosary with Bishop Thomas Zinkula prior to the Consecration of humanity, and in particular, Russia and Ukraine, to the Immaculate Heart of Mary, as Pope Francis requested. I welcomed the slight discomfort of kneeling on the floor as I thought about the deprivation and the suffering that the people of Ukraine are experiencing because of Russia’s invasion.
I sought God during the soup supper that followed Stations of the Cross at my parish and found God in service to and with others: ladling soup, washing dishes, wiping tables and breaking bread with my fellow parishioners.
I sought God in the faces of the adults with and without developmental disabilities celebrating Colin’s birthday over pizza and pop at a local restaurant on March 26. Their smiles, their laughter and the joy they exuded filled me with God’s loving presence.
I sought God in Bible study and discussion over Zoom with my Uncle Joe and cousin-in-law Jerry. Our study focused on 1 Kings, chapters eight and nine but concluded with a thoughtful reflection on how people of faith approach death. Joe and Jerry helped me to consider a more generous approach in assessing other people’s circumstances and to convey God’s love and presence through my actions and responses.
God is close at hand and sometimes in the most unexpected places. God has also provided me with many altars on which I can offer love.
(Contact Editor Barb Arland-Fye at firstname.lastname@example.org)