March 30, 2007

Faithful Lines / Shirley Vogler Meister

How do we handle the thorns in our lives?

Shirley Vogler MeisterAt Mass on the first Sunday of Lent, I marveled at the huge crown of thorns accenting three long purple banners on the left wall of the sanctuary at Christ the King Church in Indianapolis.

This pricked my consciousness and my conscience. So, during quiet moments, I thought of the metaphorical thorns in life, most of them minor. At the end of Mass, Father Tony Volz, pastor, warned the worshippers about icy dangers outdoors.

Returning home, my gentleman-husband, Paul, left me by the side door so I could get in safely. I removed my coat then heard a strange sound.

Through a kitchen window, I saw Paul on the ground with his left lower leg folded under his thigh. He had fallen on a patch of black ice. He could not get up so I wrapped him in a warm comforter and called 911.

When emergency medical technicians arrived, they knew this was serious, especially since Paul heard a loud popping noise in his knee when he went down.

When the EMTs arrived, three neighbors came to offer help. Later that day, I did call a neighbor to fetch us from the St. Vincent Hospital emergency room.

The next day, an orthopedic surgeon diagnosed acute quadriceps tendon ruptures. Eventually, Paul had surgery. His injuries were worse than expected so he is still recuperating.

This, of course, was not the first emergency that we’ve dealt with in our lives. However, it was the most ironic. Our plan for that week was to meet longtime friends at Clifty Falls State Park near Madison for our annual winter hike and picnic, something we’ve done for more than 25 years. So, this was a Lenten thorn for us.

Life takes many twists and turns, some painful—my topic for meditation at Mass on the Sunday that Paul fell on the ice. I also thought of the tangible thorns that tortured Jesus before and during his Crucifixion. His Passion and death was God’s plan for our salvation.

Our “thorns in life test” can be integral to our salvation, too. They test our mettle and our faith. Christ certainly had mettle—that quality of character, spirit, courage and ardor that fortified him.

Having mettle against whatever challenges come along allows us to do our best in any circumstance. Christ’s example strengthens our mettle despite the mental, emotional, physical and spiritual thorns of life that challenge us.

Jesus did this for us. Surely we can do likewise for him by coping well with our physical, mental, emotional and spiritual thorns.

Meditate and pray about what we are enduring for him. Even though this is late into the Lenten season, we can still hone our mettle, endure our thorns and be well-prepared for Easter.

Remember: The thorns in life often come with roses.

(Shirley Vogler Meister, a member of Christ the King Parish in Indianapolis, is a regular columnist for The Criterion.) †

Local site Links: