Tonight, as with many other evenings, I sat in a very hot shower allowing the water to beat upon my feet which were in turmoil with intense pain. The reason is the Neuropathy that plagues me, and my feet have received the largest amount of relentless throbbing. Anyone reading this who also suffers from this dreaded condition will understand its severity and my heart goes out to those with the same malady.
I have one step-daughter who also has sleepless nights, but hers is almost continuous numbness, while my feet, even though there is some loss of feeling, has constant pain in lieu of total numbness. I am not sure which is the worst, numbness or pain. Both can be debilitating and interfere with daily duties. My point is not to garner sympathy as most people suffer from some type or malady in their life, or if they live long enough will certainly experience one.
When we sin, and eventually find ourselves in Purgatory (most will) there is a period of time (time only for those still alive since once we pass away we are not locked into time and space in eternity) there may very well be some sin that even though forgiven renumeration for an unpaid debt remains.
This requires expiation and only the Church Militant (that is us) along with the Church Triumphant (saints in heaven) are able to pray for the Church Penitent (those in Purgatory). This becomes an act of expiation which we should willingly and with great mercy perform for them.
The Holy Mass with the Eucharist is the first and most efficacious manner to offer expiation for these souls. Prayer, especially the Holy Rosary is a most beautiful way to offer ourselves as well. But, suffering offered for them and other needs in the church will also accomplish a lot of release by expiating the evils that exist today in the Mystical Body of Christ.
As I sat in the shower my thoughts went to the Cross as the soldiers swung the hammer on the nails that held Jesus to the wood of the cross. Each throb on my feet, and they are brutal at times, reminds me of the severe tortuous manner and unrelenting pain Jesus felt as each blow struck with uncanny fury. I won’t compare my pain to anything as Jesus felt and remember that each time the nail went further through his feet we were seeing expiation for our very sins that put him there.
I have read where the saints who experienced the stigmata not only saw blood but felt the same excruciating pain that our beloved Jesus felt. Some I understand felt the pain without blood. I am not comparing myself to these holy men and women, but when any one feels pain and offers it up to God for someone else, they are sharing perhaps a little of the agony of the cross as Jesus hung there for you and me.
Pain is real. Suffering becomes part of that pain, and is necessary to reach the cross. The cross becomes our path to God, and when offered for others in mercy will become our mercy in return. I don’t like the pain but willingly suffer for someone else that I do not know. I have been told by some to seek and take pain medicine, but in my view if I am able to suffer without medicine the suffering takes on a more holy appearance. But, that is just for me and I do not promote that for anyone else. If you can absorb the pain then do it. If not, at least offer it for others as best you are able.
Ralph B. Hathaway, September 8, 2019