But this priest was prompted by the Spirit to ask the question which continues to haunt me: what fruits have you found with your illness?
As I thought about my answer to that question, I realized there were plenty of fruits but I had been too stuck in my well of self-pity and sorrow to notice.
Fruit #1: My friends and my family have been insanely patient with me. They have listened to me, helped me and challenged me.
Fruit #2: A Facebook article offered me a chance to look at things differently. The mantra ‘only love today’ has definitely helped change my attitude and lift the tension.
Fruit #3: I’ve been blessed to help others in a wide variety of ways.
Fruit #4: I have been reminded about the amazing families in my RE/YM program.
Fruit #5: I’ve been inspired by Scripture, especially this weekend’s readings.
I don’t know that I will stay in this positive state of mind. But I will definitely try. I plan to go to confession this week with my HS students, and begin the season of Advent with a clean heart and a fresh start with a God who mercifully gives us a second chance so I can focus on the fruits of my situation rather than the struggles.
So now I pose the same question to you: What fruits have you noticed in the struggles affecting your life right now? If you haven’t noticed the fruits, can you use the season of Advent to lift your soul to the Lord? To let Him know what’s on your heart? To challenge yourself to be different when Christ comes at Christmas?
I’ll be praying for you.
Deborah Gretzinger (No R.E. Gretz)