Woe is me, my mother, that you ever bore me, a man of strife and contention to the whole land! I have not lent, nor have I borrowed, yet all of them curse me. Your words were found, and I ate them, and your words became to me a joy and the delight of my heart; for I am called by your name, O Lord, God of hosts.
I did not sit in the company of merrymakers, nor did I rejoice; under the weight of your hand I sat alone, for you had filled me with indignation. Why is my pain unceasing, my wound incurable, refusing to be healed? Truly, you are to me like a deceitful brook, like waters that fail.
Therefore thus says the Lord: If you turn back, I will take you back, and you shall stand before me. If you utter what is precious, and not what is worthless, you shall serve as my mouth. It is they who will turn to you, not you who will turn to them. And I will make you to this people a fortified wall of bronze; they will fight against you, but they shall not prevail over you, for I am with you to save you and deliver you, says the Lord.
I will deliver you out of the hand of the wicked, and redeem you from the grasp of the ruthless.
New Revised Standard Version, copyright 1989, by the National Council of the Churches of Christ in the United States of America. Used by permission. All rights reserved. USCCB approved.
Have you ever suffered these thoughts? – “I am a mistake. Faulty. Worthless. If others saw what I know about myself, they would agree. If I were worthy, God would grace my efforts with much more success.” Jeremiah clearly had such thoughts, but he’s not hesitant about bringing his complaint to God. That might be how he’s different. We often choose to suffer in private and when we do, we run the risk of shutting out God’s voice, that voice that often is transmitted through other people when we share our story. Let’s be humble enough to admit that the story we tell ourselves might be wrong and God does not want our mistaken thoughts “to prevail over us.”
If this rings true, during your examen notice that self-recriminating urge and ask God for the courage to open it for healing by sharing it with a companion.
—Michael Coffey is the Executive Director of Casa Romero Renewal Center, an Ignatian, urban, bilingual spirituality center in the central city of Milwaukee.
Lord, your servant, Pope Francis, calls upon us to ask you for consolation in this life. Help me transcend any shame that holds me in bondage. Help me accept the encouragement of others as your true will that we serve you with joy. And give me the courage to share my struggles with others so that they might know that they are not alone. For just as you healed us through your wounds, help us heal one another through ours.