Prayer and Pain

Posted by Censor Librorum on Jun 24, 2007 | Categories: Lesbian in a Catholic Sort of Way

I have spent in past week in some discomfort because of my surgery. I have opted for pain over reduced mobility and side-effects so I don’t take pain-killers unless it is very bad.

Pain can illuminate. Post or chronic-Lyme aside, I am so used to living without acute pain I never think about it. I’m aware of it every minute this week, when in every step or stop, moving or lying down, I am in pain.

It finally built up enough for me to try prayer. Holding on to the kitchen sink, I could utter one word-“Help.” I felt ridiculous. I also understood what a terrible time I have a hard time asking anyone for anything-even God. I was startled to realize my total lack of confidence in God.

Sitting on the back porch yesterday, watching the birds and looking at the roses and beach grass and lavender swaying in the breeze, feeling everything around me wash over me like a healing balm, I was able to manage two more words, “Thank you.”

When I feel healthy I take my body for granted and never think about it much. But when I am ill or in pain things change. The dependability is gone; a mystery ensues as I realize the body can have a mind of its own and one I don’t like, appreciate or have very much patience for. It has been miserable but necessary to let my body take the lead and my not will.

My dearest friend, who spent part of her novitiate in North Africa, discovered the spirituality of Charles de Foucauld during her stay. She told me to say the “Prayer of Abandonment” when I was in the hospital-it would help with the burden of the ordeal and recovery. When I went into the operating room I tried to remember the words, but the anesthesia knocked me out before I could say in my mind more than a few lines.

I abandon myself into your hands;
do with me what you will.
Whatever you may do, I thank you:
I am ready for all, I accept all.

Let only your will be done in me,
and in all your creatures –
I wish no more than this, O Lord.

Into your hands I commend my soul:
I offer it to you with all the love of my heart,
for I love you, Lord, and so need to give myself,
to surrender myself into your hands without reserve,
and with boundless confidence,
for you are my Father.

I am aware this whole experience has given me the good soil, the manure even, for my next round of spiritual work. The strong will that is so essential for an alcoholic like me not to drink also interferes in lack of control so necessary in prayer. I am seeing, though, when I relax and let my body decide the pain becomes less.

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