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Walking with Christ

I spent the last two days weighted down with a migraine. I've only had two that were so bad I had to go to the doctor for pain and nausea shots - yesterday was one of those.

It would be nice if our walk with Christ was simply the type of walk the Apostles must have enjoyed day-to-day: chatting, learning, asking questions and soaking up His Presence. They must have joked around, laughed, been puzzled and pushed to the limits of their understanding, but all in all, it must have been good to just BE with Him.

Until it wasn't.

Then it got hard. They heard Him say He'd suffer and die. He'd have to give His life, his own flesh and blood. They couldn't stay awake. They ran away. They watched from afar as He was tortured for hours and finally killed. Their walk with Christ seemingly ended with fright, betrayal, loss.

It's like this for us too. When things are going well for us, it's nice to walk with Christ. We say our prayers, we go to Mass, we study Scripture and we feel good about our relationship with Him. We might ponder or puzzle of certain things, be touched by the trials and tribulations of others, but we walk with Him nicely, being content in our faith.

And then something comes along and knocks us, as my mother says, "galley-west". Off track. Sometimes so far off track that we can't even see the track anymore. We're completely disoriented. Like having a migraine so bad it hurts to move your head. You literally can't see straight. And Christ seems not to be a companion on the journey anymore, but just Someone you once knew.

 I think of Mary and how she must have suffered every step of the way with her Son. Her walk with Christ began at the moment of His conception and never ended. She held His hand as He toddled along, kissed a bruised knee, worried over Him when He wasn't where He was supposed to be, stood by and watched Him whipped and finally crucified. The horror in her heart must have been enormous. Her walk with Christ, though, never wavered. She was truly faithful.

When we are suffering, it is so difficult to see Christ as our companion. In fact, sometimes (due to Satan), Christ can even seem to be adversarial: "Why are You doing this to me? Why are you making everything so hard and hopeless?" As with a migraine, our sight gets rattled, out of focus.

Paul says, "...for we walk by faith, not by sight...", and we must. We see things, we experience things, we misunderstand and misinterpret. We lose sight of Christ and think our faith must be gone too. It hurts, and we want to just curl up and ignore the whole situation. But, like the migraine, ignoring it doesn't make it better. We have to reach out and seek help, or we remain lost in our own pain, and our walk with Christ ends with our choosing to leave when things are at their most painful.

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