Road to Healing – Lenten Journey 2014
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Hosanna is an exclamation of praise. It’s used in the Bible to express adoration, praise and joy. It is also used as a name in the Armenian culture. I’ve met many Hosanna’s through the years. Some have abbreviated their name and go by Osan or even Hosi! (I always like that derivative of the name – it just sounds fun, doesn’t it? Hosi!)
But the lady who sits in the 3rd pew of our church goes by the full name, Hosanna. She attends church religiously – as if there’s any other way to attend! For her there isn’t. She comes every Sunday with her husband of 60 years. Last year when they celebrated their 60th Anniversary, I made a point of congratulating them in church just before the sermon. As I announced this milestone to the congregation, this cute couple got up and took a modest bow and she shared a blessing with everyone – wishing that others could enjoy this many years. And then she shared her formula for success, “60 years and never a crossed look or an argument between us!”
Yeah, I know, Dr. Phil and the lot will probably suggest some repressed or suppressed emotions. Actually, I have my own theories about how this marriage has lasted, but hey, at this point does it matter? Let’s just say, thank God that they want to share the wealth with their blessing.
Last Sunday Hosanna was missing from church. I have to confess that I didn’t notice until after services when her children approached me and told me that she had gone to the hospital and wanted to receive Holy Communion. I didn’t ask too many questions, but promised I’d visit that day.
I took a portion of the reserved Sacrament and headed out. As life would have it I didn’t make it to the hospital until late that evening. There was about a half-an-hour left before visiting hours were over.
When Hosanna saw me, her beautiful and wrinkly face stretched out a large smile and a thousand notes of appreciation. Her joy was of the variety that I imagined Ed McMahon would see when he dropped off the Publisher’s Clearing House check, back in the day. People just don’t get this happy to see me, but Hosanna was letting everyone know – not only the lady in the bed next to her, but those in the beds in the rooms adjacent and across the hall from her. For a few moments I thought the nurses might come by to see what was going.
To this lady who was born in Syria, moved to Beirut, raised children, fled wars in the Middle East, survived various difficulties and arrived to a safe haven in America, getting some nerves, bones and muscles repaired was nothing to complain about. Her priest had come to visit her and was delivering the Blessed Sacrament – an opportunity to communicate on an intimate level with her Lord and God.
We talked the good part of the half hour I was with her. She was incredibly worried that I wasn’t comfortable, asking the nurse several times to adjust the pillows on my chair.
After I read the prayer of confession and offered her the Holy Communion she was relieved. She knew better days were ahead of her.
I could end this story by saying that she received a blessing, but that’s far from where this story ends. Sunday was a long day, filled with many challenges, but as I left the hospital room I realized I was touched and healed that night.
In life we are searching for meaning and purpose. As a priest, dealing with intangible realities such as faith, hope and love, you sometimes (more often than not for me) question the value of your work and ministry. Unlike other work, the ministry doesn’t provide immediate results – whether it’s praying for a sick person, someone in rehab, a divorced couple or working for justice in war-torn lands, on the streets of Los Angeles or in the Church itself. There are many times of doubt. Hosanna gave me a blessing. She filled my life with purpose and a renewed spirit.
If you look at your life, you will find that what you do and what you live are filled with blessings. Remember faith, hope and love may not provide immediate results, but that doesn’t discount their power. You just need to do what you do and leave the rest to God.
As I left her side I knew she was healed. There was no doubt in my mind, because I know there was no doubt in her mind. I was healed. There was no doubt in my mind and most probably she never imagined that her priest was hurting that night. That’s the power of a blessing and love. At the door way, I looked back and said, “I’ll see you Sunday in Church.”
She responded, “Of course, it’s my name day!”
This Sunday is Palm Sunday. Our Lenten Journey will be coming to an end. Hosanna. It’s the day Christ came into Jerusalem. It’s the day Christ comes into the Holiest Centers of our Lives and we say Hosanna. A message of praise, adoration and joy.
This is Fr. Vazken, looking forward to walking on the Road to Healing again with you tomorrow.
Produced by Suzie Shatarevyan for epostle.net
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