Outside of Lent in 2012 our Sunday Gospels will follow Mark’s Gospel, chapter by chapter. After the liturgical scholars settled on this Gospel for today, they next searched through the Old Testament for a reading that would best compliment it.
Seeing that today’s Gospel speaks of Simon’s mother-in-law being sick and suffering, the scholars set out to find an Old Testament passage that dealt with ill health. That had them settling on this paragraph in which Job lamented over his sleepless nights. The choice of these two readings tells up that the Church today suggests that we should examine our Christian attitude towards suffering.
Except for toothaches years ago I have had little experience of pain. My lack of experience has led me to ask others about it.
The Burmese nuns who work nights at our Catherine Laboure Manor say that night after night they suffer along with people in pain. It often happens that patients have doctors who allow pain pills to be given only once in four or six hours. That leads to real misery when the relief from the pill last only two hours. It must be awful for the poor sick person who must put up with hours of pain.
Members of the family are so grateful to Hospice for dulling the pain for loved ones when death is near.
One man yesterday told me that once he knows the cause of the pain he is able to accept it as a fact. That’s good. We must accept what is.
My niece who has been working with the mentally handicapped for forty years said that people who were brought up in loving families are able to say, “I must accept the bad with the good.” On the contrary, those who have had nothing but bad breaks can do nothing but rebel.
Another person this week spoke to me about pleasures of the mind that balance the pain of the flesh. This lady said unselfish people can see major pain as a lesser matter.
As against that, selfish people see small hurts as major. The priest who followed Father Flannigan as head of Boys’ Town flew out to Korea in December of 1953, and he sat across the aisle from Joe DiMaggio and Marylyn Monroe. He told me the pair didn’t talk the whole way across the Pacific. Marylyn had a sore finger that she held up and pouted and pouted over.