|The Rev. Ricardo Frohmader, St. Alban Mission/Antigua and St. James Parish/Guatemala City|
Guatemala City, April 17th, 2014
My dear Saint James and Saint Alban brothers, sisters, families and friends:
Thank you for holding me in your prayers as I underwent a somewhat fearsome surgery at the beginning of this month. Your prayers guided the surgeons and nurses as they chipped away at my spine to relieve pressure on the nerve bundles, and hammered and nailed vertebrae into new positions.
I want to tell you that I miss you. I miss worshipping with you and alongside you. Many of you have come by, written and called, but I want something more. I want to hold you in the embrace of the shared peace of our Lord soon again! I miss your arms and hands and cheeks as we share God’s peace in preparation for the Eucharist.
I was in surgery for about 8 and one half hours on April 1. Fourteen hours later doctors and nurses were at my bedside ordering me to get up, and stand, then walk, and then sit. I did all of that, and it wasn’t fun. As a matter of fact it was the least fun I’d had in a long time. Where was the locomotive that hit me yesterday, I wondered? Was it going to come back in the opposite direction and hit me again?
My pain made me think of the pain of our Lord and Savior Jesus when he was brought to trial, flogged, beaten and nailed to a cross. What was my pain in comparison to his? His pain ended in resurrection, and the defeat of death as the destiny of humankind. His painful death and his resurrection were much on my mind as the countdown to my surgery brought the event ever closer. Was I afraid? Yes? Was I confident that God would see me through this- that was my hope, and my hope was vindicated that afternoon of April 1st when I came to in the Intensive Care Unit and saw my wife sitting there waiting for me to awaken.
Jesus’ resurrection which we joyously announce on Easter morn is his triumph over death. It is ours as well. Death will no more have dominion over us. Death and resurrection have a larger dimension as well, as metaphors, because our lives are filled with deaths and resurrections, ours and those of the ones we love and hold dear. Some of those deaths we experience are physical- we lose loved ones, parents, siblings, children, beloved friends. We are left behind, feeling bereft. Yet our Christian hope says that we will be reunited with them in the presence of God’s love. We learn once again to smile, to laugh, and to continue loving, though it can take a while.
Others among us experience death in a different way. We fall into patterns of behavior that are deadly. This may happen slowly, or suddenly. These patterns separate us from God’s love, and from our ability to love and be loved by our neighbors. We drown our self-loathing in drink and drugs. We may not kill ourselves physically, but some of us do a good job of being among the dead by cutting ourselves off from arms that are there to hold us, and hands that reach out to us, if we will let them. We do not want to return from spiritual death, but hide in the shadows of the valley of death.
You and I know people like that. What can we do to bring them out of darkness into the light? How can we reach out to them and bring them the joys of resurrection and new life in Christ Jesus? I think that is the challenge our risen Lord gives us this Easter morning-share out his resurrection not just among ourselves, but with others, and help others know and experience the joy of Jesus’ triumph over the forces of death as well.
Dear Brothers and Sisters, may God’ Grace be with you, and may his blessing be the lamp that guides your feet on your way through this world. Thanks you for sharing your love with me.
Know that I love you.¨
A HOLY WEEKEND PRAYER FOR FR. RICARDO and FAMILY
Dear Jesus, Lamb of God,
On this holiest of weekends we continue to give our thanks for our dear Fr. Ricardo’s successful surgery. Please give him strength for his ongoing recovery with positive energy and determination. Please also envelope his family, especially his wife, with Your soothing embrace and guide his parishioners and friends with hope. Our prayers ascend as You prepare to leave the earthly tomb forever and leave us all better than we ever were. We ask this through Your Son, our Savior, Jesus Christ and Your Most Holy Spirit, who reign with You as One God, forever and ever. Amen.
Christina Brennan Lee, People's Prayers, sidebar
VISITING ANTIGUA, GUATEMALA?
St Alban Mission holds English services every Sunday at Noon
Casa Convento Concepcion, Antigua Guatemala, All are welcome
See welcome letter at the sidebar.
See welcome letter at the sidebar.