On her thirty-eighth birthday, Barbara received a telephone call informing her that her parents had been involved in a fatal car accident. All of a sudden, Barbara’s world came crashing down. She reflected on all the good memories that her family had experienced over the years, and she wondered how she could cope with her loss. However, she also knew that she had her own children to care for. She then became numb at the thought of being without her beloved mother and father.
After the funeral, Barbara was greeted by several parishioners. Many offered to assist with housework and with the children, or anything she needed. With each offer to help, she kindly refused it, thinking that she could do it all on her own. Over the next few weeks, Barbara became spiritually and psychologically numb. The members of the parish continued to call and send cards offering any help she needed, but over time Barbara became more despondent.
One day Fr. Reginald dropped by to check on her and the children. Father wanted to discuss the situation and see how she was getting along. Barbara expressed that she had been raised by her parents to be as independent as possible, and she believed if she requested help it would look as if she was weak. Father gently informed her that such thinking was contrary to our spiritual nature — that each of us are brothers and sisters in a Christian family. He read a few verses and encouraged Barbara to accept some help, as it would be a blessing to her and those offering it. Fr. Reginald said, “As brothers and sisters in Christ, we have compassion for one another and take care of each other’s needs when they arise. It’s not shameful or weak to accept help when it’s offered.”
In the next couple of weeks, Barbara and her children returned to Mass. She was greeted by old friends who were delighted to see her. She took Father’s advice and accepted the help and comfort of her fellow parish members. Later, Barbara expressed that a huge weight had been lifted from her shoulders.
Many of us can relate in some way to Barbara’s experience. We should never feel too proud to ask for help when we are truly in need — even if it’s just having a friend to talk to during a difficult time or when we’re stressed. On the other hand, are we among those that would be willing to help suffering members such as Barbara? Are we willing to share a kind word with someone who might be undergoing a trial in their life? Are we setting an example for others when it comes to works of mercy? Being part of Christ’s flock brings certain responsibilities. One of those, says St. James, is “to care for orphans and widows in their affliction.” He said this is an aspect of being part of the “religion that is pure and undefiled before God and the Father.” (James 1:27)
God bless you,