Today is the beautiful celebration of the Exultation or the Triumph of the Cross. The cross is so central to our faith as Catholic Christians!
This past Sunday I headed to vacation where the Vincentian confreres have a beach house that we use. One of the other cars was in a serious car accident on their way up. Three of the four were taken to the trauma center in Atlantic City about an hour from where we are.
That night I went to the hospital to see the Sisters and I was hesitant about going in to see them not knowing what to expect. The first room I went in I was greeted with such happiness and relief that we had come. Even though she was immobilized, her neck and back will continue to be that way for some time, she was concerned for the emotional well being of the driver and the injuries of the others without talking about her own pain. Of course she did fill us in about herself when we asked, but that was not her primary concern--the concern was for the others.
Isn't that what the Triumph of the Cross is about? That love triumphs over all suffering? Isn't that what Christ taught us while up on that cross?
Out of the three Sisters in the hospital, I have only lived with one of them. However, I was struck by my great love for each of them as I visited. These are not relationships based on friendship or family membership. I love these women in a special way through our common bond of giving our lives to Christ, together, for the service of those living in poverty. I am amazed how deep this bond is within my heart.
As Catholic Christians, we are united in Christ. This unity must change how we love---we are called to love as Christ did. No suffering, persecution, calamity, car accident... can separate us from the love of Christ and the love of others. The present suffering of these Sisters is an opportunity for them--as they witness their love and concern for others despite their own pain. It is also an opportunity for the rest of us. I have witnessed great love, compassion, thoughtfulness and gentleness in these days following the accident.
It is a reminder for me why I love being a Daughter of Charity--why I find these women so special--and how they draw me to holiness, to be more like Christ. It is hard for me to explain how deeply I have been touched through the interactions with these Sisters from feeding one ice chips to hearing of concern for the health of another Sister.
As Vincentians, we believe that God is in the events. I find that it is important to pause in the midst of all this and ask myself "Where am I finding Christ in this experience? How is Christ present to us here and now?" Yes, I have found Christ these days in the sufferings of my Sisters. I pray their suffering doesn't last much longer and that we will be able to bring them home soon. Please pray for everyone involved in the accident, not just our Sisters.