Catholic Diocese of Spokane, Washington
Official News Magazine of the Diocese of Spokane
P.O. Box 48, Spokane WA 99210
(509) 358-7340; FAX: (509) 358-7302
Letters to the Editor
(From the July 31, 2008 edition of the Inland Register)
The Inland Register welcomes letters to the editor. Letters should be no longer than 500 words. Letters must be signed, with address and phone number for contact, but names will be withheld upon request. Letters may be edited for length or clarity. Remember to be charitable.
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Fax: (509) 358-7302
“The desire to be in eternal peace is good and holy. But it is necessary to moderate it by a complete resignation to the Divine Will. It is better to do the Divine Will on Earth than to enjoy heaven.” — Padre Pio
This November will be a critical time for many of the life issues nationwide. Washington is in the spotlight this year as sponsors of Initiative 1000 seek to garner enough votes to legalize physician-assisted suicide in our state. This highly emotional issue sharply divides supporters and opponents, as evidenced in a recent community conversation sponsored by the Tri-City Herald newspaper, in which I participated.
The stories that were shared in the course of that discussion were heartbreaking, and I was humbled to hear about the profound physical and emotional suffering that some of my companions had endured. I respect each person who brought their experiences and thoughts to the forum. But if my thoughts can help even one person who is struggling with pain and terminal illness to choose to live out their life to its last moment and reject the temptation to suicide, I address this letter to that one unique and valuable person:
You are a child of God, created in his image. Nothing can revoke or remove your inherent dignity. Yes, it is humbling to be helpless, to lose your independence, to need the help of others in your physical distress. But know that you bestow a great gift on your caregivers, who are becoming holier by their service to God, who dwells within you. Remember that Jesus also humbled himself, becoming obedient, even to death on a cross. In your suffering, you are being drawn into that mystery of sacrifice, of redemption, of salvation. You are being drawn closer to Christ. Mother Teresa described what you are going through as a sign that you have come so close to Jesus on the Cross that he can kiss you. This closeness means that you may be pricked by the thorns in his crown or hurt by the nails, but it also gives you the chance to become totally united with Jesus.
Please do not reject the eternal life that Jesus wants to give you. The mystery of suffering may only be fully appreciated when we no longer have the ability to suffer. I heard once that the only two things that make the angels envy us are the Eucharist and suffering. Can you imagine, the angels envy us our ability to suffer with Christ? Reject not the cup which he offers you, it is the cup of salvation – yours, but not yours alone, for the world needs your sacrifice. Offer it for those you love, offer it for the redemption of the world. Reject not the Cross, for it is love. Jesus did not refuse to suffer and die for us, how can we as Christians refuse to suffer with him?
In your pain, ask to have the Psalms read to you. Listen to the ancient voices of God’s chosen ones crying out to him and join your voice to theirs. You are his chosen one, too. God will hear you and comfort you. You are God’s precious child from the moment of your conception to the moment of your last breath. Trust in him. Do not despair, but hope. Be faithful to the very end. Your suffering in this brief life will become the source of your greatest joy in eternity. Keep your eyes on the Crucified One, and you will be filled with his strength.
Nancy Murray, Richland, Wash.
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