By Deacon Derick Cranston
Love and suffering are so intertwined that the more you love the more you will potentially suffer. This is especially true for parents. It is almost impossible to be a parent without experiencing some type of heartache or suffering.
Many parents dream of a better life for their children. However, if those dreams do not come to fruition the heartache can run deep. If your son or daughter experiences much suffering in their life, it can be devastating. It can feel like a sword piercing your heart.
This is what Mary hears from Simeon in Luke’s Gospel. After joyfully taking the baby Jesus in his arms and describing him as a “light of revelation” and the “glory of Israel,” Simeon makes a comment that must have felt like a verbal blow coming down like a hammer. “And you yourself a sword will pierce,” he tells Mary.
I can only imagine how she must have suffered upon hearing these words. Still, she carried on with dignity and grace. As we read later in this passage, “… his mother kept all these things in her heart.” What do we carry in our heart?
Do we carry bitterness at life being unfair? Or, do we accept the difficulties that come our way and fill our heart with love despite the hardships? This is difficult to do. It is all too easy to become envious or resentful. But, as the saying goes, “the greater the difficulty, the greater the reward.”
There is no greater reward than this: to make a difference in someone’s life by loving that person. Achieving that reward depends on what we choose to carry in our heart. What we carry in the depths of our heart will radiate outwards and touch those around us.
There used to be a credit card commercial that showed the pitfalls of not having that credit card. The commercial always ended with the phrase, “So, what’s in your wallet?” The same could be said of us and the love we give and receive from others. So, “what’s in your heart?”
(Deacon Cranston is pastoral associate for St. Mary Parish in Riverside, Holy Trinity Parish in Richmond and St. Joseph Parish in Wellman.)