This morning I woke up after eight hours of sleep feeling like I hadn’t slept at all. My head was heavy with pain, my body aching and complaining. I inched my way out of bed, took my mound of medication, and went to pray. As I began my time of meditation, the pain in my head continually called to me, “Pay attention to me, I hurt.” “Jesus” I whispered. “Pay attention to me, I hurt.” “Jesus” I whispered, “give me strength to pray.” “Jesus.” After a few rounds of this and no ability to escape the constant complaining from my head and find a few words for Him, a simple idea occurred to me. “Pray the Liturgy” I thought. “You can do that and it will give you the words you don’t have and will help you to win this battle this morning.” “Even if it is not a great victory, at least some of your thoughts will turn to Him.” Another thought came to mind, “I offer this pain for those who cannot pray.”
I wrestled through the Liturgy of the Hours and this created enough focus to distract me from the pain a bit and to offer a few inadequate sentiments to Him. Then I wondered how some of you fight this battle. I would like to hear from those of you who suffer but still engage and don’t give up. How do you fight through and pray anyway? This is not a hypothetical question, but a practical one. No matter what your source of suffering (physical, emotional, spiritual), how do you fight to turn your heart to Him?
Art for this post on “How do the Suffering Pray”: Modified detail of Long Suffering, Julia Margaret Cameron, 1865, PD-US author’s life plus 100 years or less, published in the U.S. prior to January 1, 1923, Wikimedia Commons.