by Ken Rolheiser
Risking God’s mercy in sickness

I have had the privilege of struggling with Covid for the past week. It demands courage and an ultimate trust in God’s mercy. Illness takes you to that place where you are vulnerable, unprotected and helpless. That is Jesus on the Cross!

When we are at the Cross of Christ things are simplified. Jesus accepted it all, offered it for us and gave it back to the Father in love. Some important things happen at this place of vulnerability.

Jesus forgives those who are pounding the nails through his wrists. He asks God to forgive them because they do not know what they are doing. Things are simplified. God’s mercy is boundless and free. His embrace is universal.

When we are at the Cross in our illness, it is good to pause and reflect. We may feel helpless, but this is a time of trust and prayer. This is the place of mercy.

In “Risking God’s Mercy” Father Ron Rolheiser says, “The mercy of God is as accessible as the nearest water tap and we, like Isaiah, must proclaim a mercy that has no price tag: ‘Come, come without money and without virtue, come everyone, drink freely of God’s mercy!’” 

Not everyone recovers from Covid-19. Not everyone recovers from their illness. But all of us are recipients of God’s mercy. God’s plan unfolds, and we can say amen! The Kingdom will come, and God’s will is done. And we say amen.

We accept the outcome. If it is God’s will, we go back to struggle in an imperfect world. We work and pray for justice and share a portion of our goods. Together with the church we need to make God’s mercy more accessible to all, to set free the infinite, the unbounded and unconditional mercy of God.

The end of an illness often finds us scarcely able to pronounce Amen. If good health is our fortune, we pray for the grace to return to our loved ones, our communities and our world to continue to build God’s Kingdom.

I tested negative for Covid this morning. I feel gratitude and relief. I will gather my strength and restart the engines of living. But I continue with gratitude for God’s continued mercies to all of us.

In the Morning Prayer of the Church today we pray: “You have given the sick and the suffering a share in your cross, give them patience and strength.” Amen.

(409 words)