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The Kingdom of God is among us

To the question of the Pharisees about the time of the coming of God’s kingdom, Jesus replies that "the kingdom is among you" (Lk 17:20–21). The emphasis has thus been shifted from a future observable coming of the kingdom to something that is already present in Jesus’ preaching and healing ministry—and today.

Photoof Sr. Fabiiola at the bedsideIn Jean's hospice setting, late afternoon and evenings are the worst for me. There is something about the coming of darkness that produces a bit more of sadness and anxiety. We are called to live in the light of Christ, not in the darkness that encompasses much of our world. Sometimes the light of Christ seems dimmed and far away while shadows creep in from all sides

It helps when, at 8:30 pm, I am Convent of the Sisters, Servants of Mary to pick up Sr. Fabiola and take her to stay with Jean for the night. Before we leave the Convent those of us whom the Sisters serve this night pray together with the Sisters before leaving. Arriving at our home, Sister Fabiola joins Jean and our family for night prayers. It is then, in our darkness, that the light of Christ shines more brightly and the shadows of anxiety and sadness recede.

This night Jean regaled Sister Fabiola with stories of her childhood and her early experience at St. Rita’s Catholic School in Philadelphia. For about 20 minutes Jean had Sister Fabiola laughing about how she couldn’t resist talking to her friend Rita, how, caught talking by her homeroom Sister, she was obliged to put a penny in the mite box for starving children in the world, and how Jean, who always had something to say to Rita, would put the penny in the mite box before class started. Better to pay in advance. It saves time and trouble, although I doubt that Sister was pleased with this arrangement.

Jean is incredibly patient, grateful for her care, trusting as she continues to walk the path that God has asked her to walk, her one hand in the hand of Mary and her other hand in the hand of St. Rita of Cascia, her favorite saint. As we walk our paths of life we will encounter our crosses, and if we accept them we will fully understand their healing power. Saint Louis de Montfort parted with friends saying, “May God bless you and give you many small crosses!”.

Jean is bearing her cross with patience and acceptance of the will of God. I, along with my family, are bearing ours as best we can. In this Hospice setting, there is joy, acceptance and an outpouring of love between Jean, her family and her caregivers. We have moments of deep peace and happiness. Peace, happiness, joy and outpouring of love are characteristics of the Kingdom of God. The Kingdom of God is indeed among us. It is easier to see when we banish the shadows and allow the light of Christ to illuminate our path.

Robert Luchi