Every parent has experienced it at one time or another: a mother spends her whole day cleaning up and fixing the house while the kids are in school and then sees her efforts thrown in total disarray after a few minutes of play by the children or a father spends hours and maybe a pretty sum to make a toy for a son and then sees the toy ruined after a few moments of mangling by an overly curious boy.
It took more than four billion years to prepare the earth to be a hospitable place and to receive man. And when man comes to the scene, he thrashes the planet in a matter of a few thousand years. In the cosmic scheme of things, it takes eons to make things happen and yet life seems to be a fragile thing. One extra strong storm can wipe out thousands of lives. An earthquake is all it takes to destroy what man has built. A missile fired in maniacal hatred at an airliner snuffs out the lives of more than 300 innocent people. An epidemic outbreak kills people even before they are aware they are infected.
Because life is fragile, we seek to secure our place in the sun. But what is true security? There is no security against death. We can try to live healthy lives but there is no real security against the aging process. And we can die any moment from a variety of causes. We can try to save for a rainy day but all it takes is a financial crisis to wipe out all our savings. We seek positions and careers as a safe guard against the future. But fame and fortune are fleeting like the morning dew.
The only prayers that make sense to me are prayers for courage that I may be brave to face up to whatever life deals out to me and for strength that I may be able to rise up every time life blows me down. I pray in gratitude for the blessings I am enjoying today for tomorrow they could be gone. I pray for wisdom that I might see the hand that guides me through the vicissitudes and fragility of life.
Those who sow in tears shall reap rejoicing.
The mother of the sons of Zebedee approached Jesus with her sons
and did him homage, wishing to ask him for something.
He said to her, “What do you wish?”
She answered him, “Command that these two sons of mine sit,
one at your right and the other at your left, in your Kingdom.”
Jesus said in reply, “You do not know what you are asking.
Can you drink the chalice that I am going to drink?”
They said to him, “We can.”
He replied, “My chalice you will indeed drink,
but to sit at my right and at my left, this is not mine to give
but is for those for whom it has been prepared by my Father.”