by Ken Rolheiser
Float like a butterfly and sting like a bee

“Those who trust in the Lord will find new strength.” (Isaiah 40:31).

Father Dan Yasinski shares the story of Angelo Dundee, corner man for Muhammad Ali. It is Dundee who taught Ali to “float like a butterfly and sting like a bee”. We have the Holy Spirit as our corner man, Yasinski says.

When the world knocks us down, Jesus has promised, “I will send you the advocate”, the Holy Spirit who is our counsellor, comforter, helper and encourager. 

Meet Lyna, a single mother in Malawi, who cares for seven children on her own. Her one knee is bent at a right angle, caused by dietary deficiencies in childhood. But Lyna is a fighter. She has kept her children in school.

“Sometimes we would go two days without eating,” Lyna says. “There was nothing I could do. The children would complain, ‘Why are you not preparing food for us?’” She showed me the maize field two kilometres from her house where she had worked. But the income was never enough.

Now Lyna has a black sewing machine through one of Hope and Healing’s livelihood programs. She can provide continuous food for her family. Lyna stretches out her arms and dances in front of her kids while singing. They laugh and giggle. 

Lyna goes to church near her kids’ school. She gets her strength and joy from God. “I prayed to God that He would do something to change my life, to bring more money to my family. God has answered my prayers. I feel like I have received a breakthrough.” (Hope and Healing International - February 24, 2020).

What happens to us when we get sick or face adversity in our lives? Often we want to block out all other areas and think only of our physical health. St. John Paul II believed sickness was precisely the time to ask some of the hardest questions in life, to dive deeper into your own spiritual life.

“It is precisely in times of sickness that the need to find adequate responses to the ultimate questions about human life is the most pressing: questions on the meaning of pain, suffering and death itself … a mystery in which Christ incorporates our lives in himself, opening them to a new and definitive birth for the life that will never end.” (Letter on the World Day of the Sick 2005).

When we are sick, we are always faced with the possibility of death. This can be a scary thought, but for the Christian, it should also include thoughts of hope, John Paul II said.

“In Christ lies the hope of true, full health; the salvation that he brings is the true response to the ultimate questions about man. There is no contradiction between earthly health and eternal salvation, since the Lord died for the integral salvation of the human person and of all humanity.”

John Paul II concludes: Jesus is the answer to sickness, suffering and death. He alone can offer us peace during times of uncertainty and grant us a glimpse of the glory that is to come.

During this Pentecost Season that follows Easter, we can access the advocate Jesus promised to send. When we face cancer, pain, sickness, Covd-19 and even just our daily struggles we need the power of the Holy Spirit to pick us up off the canvas so we can once again float like a butterfly.

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