Friday, March 12, 2004

Father Benedict Reflects on His Accident

From Letter 3/11/04:

"Today is an anniversary for me - the second month after my accident. It also is an important day because I began to be able to speak. This makes life easier and in many ways, more enriching. Speech permits us to not be locked up in our little room of self.

We just had Mass offered by Father Luke, a young friar of our community. We welcomed someone from down the hall, Professor Alice von Hildebrand, a distinguished Catholic writer and the wife of the late Dietrich von Hildebrand. Alice and I have been close friends for many years and you may have seen our series on suffering on EWTN. She reminded me of a very important line which I had forgotten. It was a statement by Archbishop Fulton J. Sheen: 'Nothing is worse than wasted suffering'. Of course one is tempted to ask, 'Why did this accident occur?' While I am being tempted to ask this, I am looking at a picture of Saint Padre Pio who said 'Don't ask why, ask what - what am I supposed to do?' That's rather obvious except one must admit a deficiency of virtues and throw oneself before Christ crucified and the Holy Spirit.

We all suffer. Some suffer well, some poorly, some bitterly, some in union with Christ, some in union with Our Lady and the Saints, some in union with God as they know Him, some only in union with the other people in the hospital, and some all alone - but we suffer. How much better it is to suffer even poorly and inconsistently in union with Christ. Let's keep praying for each other.

Father Benedict"