Days of Grace: Meditations and Practices for Living with Illness by Mary C. Earle. 


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Day Fifteen

Strengthen My Heart

Written By Mary C. Earle

Practice Note

Meditation: <listen>

You strengthen me more and more;
You enfold and comfort me.
—Psalm 71:21

Perhaps you have known someone whose soul emanates the strength of love, the strength of Christ. An older friend of mine comes to mind, a friend who is a physician, a neurosurgeon, a man who has lived through his first wife’s death from cancer and who daily witnesses death and suffering as he offers his surgical skill in the operating room. He is a man who knows that life is fragile and resilient, beautiful and startling. He has also walked with many families through the valley of the shadow of death.

When Christ strengthens us, enfolds us, comforts us, we grow in our capacity for endurance and perseverance in love. We become more able to walk with others in their suffering and grief. We are more inclined to see our own sorrows within the context of the sorrows of the whole human family.

Illness can offer peculiar gifts, strange gifts—gifts of souls growing stronger, of hearts softening and comforting. As you live with your own illness, may you be alert to Christ’s offering of his own strength for your inner being, that planted in love and rooted in love you may grow up into his own life for the world.

Ever merciful Christ, this day, and every day, may You strengthen my heart and soul, that I may receive your comfort and offer that same comfort to others. Amen.

Practice: <listen>

Recall someone who has been of great comfort to you as you have learned to live with illness. What qualities does that person’s life exhibit? Give thanks for this person and reflect on your own ability to offer comfort. How might you extend comfort to another? Does anyone in particular come to mind? If so, begin by steadily and quietly praying for that other person, awaiting Christ’s guidance. Perhaps you need to phone or e-mail or send a card to the person you are led to comfort. Perhaps, for the moment, you are called to steadfast prayer and intercession, respecting the vulnerability of another.

Reference Note: All  psalms are taken from the psalter in The Book of Common Prayer, 1979.