Monday, January 2, 2012
The Inexhaustible Cup
My friend Christi, the talented iconographer, painted this wonderful icon of the Inexhaustible Cup and sent it to me shortly before Christmas, and it was this image of our Blessed Mother and Jesus that brought me much comfort during my son Joe's recent illness and hospital stay.
Our Lady is revered in Russia under this title as an advocate for alcoholics and all those struggling with addictions. She is shown as tirelessly raising her hands in prayer as her Son stands within the chalice of suffering. During Joe's five day stay at the hospital, he, like Christ, was accepting his suffering with peace and joy while I, like the Blessed Mother, remained nearby with my hands raised in prayer for his healing. And God heard my prayer of petition and Joe's offering of suffering, for the Lord never tires of listening to our prayers and as an answer he sent us great and never-ending love that we greedily consumed knowing that her cup which holds the Lord is truly inexhaustible, and the Lord is always ready to give of himself, to give us His Body and Blood over and over again so that we may truly live.
It was a great blessing that my son who had required surgery to drain an infected lymph node behind his neck muscle was able to put off that surgery until after Christmas Day and was able to return home from the hospital five days later, in time to spend the New Year holiday and Solemnity of Mary, Mother of God with his family in the comfort of our home. During the time that he was hospitalized our family was showered with love and prayer from friends and family like we have never known before. Four days later, I am still in awe and wonder at the beauty that shines through the trials of illness, at the goodness of God that dwells within the hearts of so many and of the great love that exists within this world. Like the love that flows from the Inexhaustible Cup, my love and gratitude flows as well.
I am grateful for:
~lessons of love learned in illness and restored health for Joe
~a good-natured son who smiled his way through his entire hospitalization and didn't complain, not even once
~family and friends from church who brought meals to our house to sustain our family during a hectic week spent mainly at the hospital
~our friend Anne L. and her son Michael who providentially came to keep vigil with us during the surgery; that friendly visit at that particular time helped to distract us from our worry and made the 90 minute surgery time pass pleasantly by
~Fr. Peter Berger and Fr. Dave Cooper who both came to anoint Joe prior to surgery
~Fr. Matthew Widder, Fr. Jim Kubicki, SJ, and Bishop Hying who came to visit and pray with Joe during his hospital stay
~the steady stream of friends and family who came to visit and to offer cheer
~an ultrasound technician who was a great source of comfort and peace during the height of worry over the unknown
~facebook and email which became easy ways to share updates about Joe's progress with many concerned family and friends all at once
~offers of prayer and words of comfort and kindness from so many people that I could easily have lost track of them all, but I won't, I will remember and be grateful for each and every one
~the knowledge that we are so loved by God through the goodness of others
~home again and cooking and baking for my family-how I love spending time in the kitchen!
~playing games of Trouble and Scrabble with my family
~ushering in the New Year with Mass and receiving a kiss of love from Jesus in the Holy Eucharist at the stroke of midnight
~driving to three different Adoration Chapels before finding an open door to our Lord and quietly kneeling before Him, giving Him my all-sometimes the Lord is hard to find but He is always more than worth the effort!
~watching Jack and Mary work to make an ice-skating rink in our backyard
~repeating my winter mantra "Shut the door-the heat's on!" again and again
~Archbishop Dolan's wonderful response to my son John's letter of inquiry here
How has the Inexhaustible Cup shown her never ending love for you? Join with Ann at A Holy Experience to share your gratitude with multitudes on Monday.