I cannot stop thinking of Mr. & Mrs. Brosofske of St. Claire Shores, Michigan. I met this couple several years ago through their son Ronald who passed away in 2002. After a few years of marriage, Mrs. Brosofske was diagnosed with multiple sclerosis (MS), and very quickly became confined to a wheelchair. She was in that wheelchair for over 45 years. At the time I met her, she had also lost the power of speech. Yet, there never was a time this woman didn’t find a word of joy and gratitude to utter, followed with laughter. Most of my stories about nuns came from her. From her wheelchair she taught her grandchildren the beauty of God and to treasure their
relationship with our Blessed Mother. Her husband, at a point, had to resign from his engineering work to take care of her. This man was several times advised by people to divorce his wife so he could have some time for him, at least to do some travel. When he heard that and similar advice, he literally would respond in the words of Jesus to Peter: “Get behind me Satan, for you do not think as God thinks, but as man thinks” (Matt. 16:23). Hespent his entire life taking care of his wife. He passed away some years after his wife died.
There are many stories of people like this in our midst: people who are willing to go miles to save others without complaining; people who are willing to die so others might live; people who give all they have for the sake of others; people committed to life and to love, from the depth of their being, because they are deeply committed to
God. Such people are bearers of the Word of God; and bearers of God’s Word are also bearers of light. This light of God’s Word awakens the darkness around us, so that the brighter the light, the thicker the darkness it will provoke. It is this darkness before the light of God’s Word that constitutes the Cross. At each step, darkness
confronts light in the form of sarcasm, cynicism, self-doubt, criticism and judgment from others, shame and guilt, slander and devaluation; suggestions to take the easy or selfish path rather than the path of death to self for the bigger and broader project of life and love!
Bearers of the Word can sometimes be derided, made fun of, taunted and even branded old-fashioned because they take God and the project of selfless love seriously. They know that to follow God, to be disciples of Jesus Christ, is to follow the Way of Love, of caring for others; the way of self-forgetfulness, as difficult and
challenging as it may be. But the indifferent Christian is so scared to jump into the boat with Jesus; he prefers to watch from afar, and calculates his losses and gains before he takes any step. If he doesn’t stand to gain in his calculations, he questions the commitment; he then plays it safe! But not for bearers of the Word like Mr. & Mrs. Brosofske and their like! These have thrown in all they are and have, and risked everything, making proper use of all the circumstances that Divine Will presents to them. Such people have little or no vacations, no time-off from loving and caring till their death. Even after the death of his wife, Mr. Brosofske still wondered if he had loved his wife enough! I couldn’t believe it each time he asked that question. What a great life! I once wrote a reflection on the life of these two “Angels of Love” as I call them, because their life challenged and still challenges me.
To be disciples of Jesus is to be bearers of Him, God’s Word. It means to always follow the way of selfless love, and this entails dying to everything that obstructs love – and there are so many of them within and around us.
That is the cross. But as we die, so we live better and give life even more to others. May God be praised in our lives. Amen