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Hillary Ibarra considers how we can sacrifice, listen, watch, and pray to move mountains for our loved ones through faith.

Some days as I walk and begin the Rosary, I suddenly realize it is Tuesday, and I think, Oh no!

Obviously imperfect in my faith, my inward groaning reflects my reluctance to experience the intense sorrow of the Sorrowful Mysteries, prayed on Tuesdays and Fridays. Yet, I am grateful for the grace to pray the mysteries of Christ’s Passion and Crucifixion; in the last several years, they have helped me to hold suffering loved ones close.

When my father was deathly ill for months after a devastating fall, I prayed for his healing and imagined my father carrying a heavy cross, struggling up Calvary with Jesus.

When my sister was diagnosed with breast cancer, I saw her agony in the garden, waiting for results, waiting for news. I saw the scourging she bore because of chemotherapy, surgery, and radiation. I saw Christ in her, with her, and beside her through months of uncertainty, exhaustion, and suffering. I prayed hard.

When my sweet mother lost her mother, her beloved brother, her father and, later, her job of many years, I wept and prayed.

When my brother’s marriage ended, I wrestled with emotions, reached out in love (as a priest invited me to do), and prayed. When his baby boy was diagnosed with a serious condition in utero, I prayed for that beautiful child.

As my brother-in-law is struggling through health crisis after health crisis this year, I pray.

The Sorrowful Mysteries place me at the foot of the Cross continually, where hung the One who redeemed everything, even suffering.

“God doesn’t give you more than you can handle,” has often been said.

I would argue instead, God doesn’t give you more than you can handle with His Grace.

People are often contending with much more than they can handle alone. God’s grace is vital, and they need their fellow human beings. No one wishes to be left alone with hardship and pain. No one wants to be alone, struggle alone, or feel ignored.

But how can we be present with our fellow human beings in their suffering, as the Lord’s mother and the apostle John were present at the foot of the cross? If we can’t be with someone physically, how can we be with them spiritually?


Watch and pray, as Christ asked His disciples to do.


Then he said to them, “My soul is sorrowful even unto death. Remain here and keep watch.” (Mark 14:34)

We do for others as we would have them do for us in our hour of trouble, remaining awake to our loved one’s struggles, steadfast in faith, hope, and love through prayer for them. We are praying with our Lord in the garden of Gethsemane: not our will but Your will be done. It is the perfect prayer, for God is merciful, bringing good from agonizing circumstances. We pray, if not for one hour, for one decade or more of the Rosary.




Oh, that you would be altogether silent; that for you would be wisdom! (Job 13:5)

Too often we are tempted to offer foolish words to address a loved one’s suffering. As Job’s friends did, we offer reasons and prescriptions without much reflection. I have caused greater trouble by interjecting my opinion into circumstances I could not fathom. We must remember Jesus is the Great Physician. God alone knows all things.

Listening humbly to others while they are suffering is true wisdom.


Make Sacrifices for Others


Then he said to all, “If anyone wishes to come after me, he must deny himself and take up his cross daily and follow me.” (Luke 9:23)


We can practice “offering it up” for others when we experience hardship or disappointments we did not choose. And we can choose to prayerfully give up things we desire daily. How is that effective? We unite our small sacrifices to our Redeemer’s ultimate sacrifice on the cross. All things through Jesus.

As I sometimes hesitate to plunge into the Sorrowful Mysteries, we may hesitate to share the sorrow of others, feeling uncomfortable or helpless to mitigate it. Yet if we sacrifice, listen, watch and pray, we can move mountains for our loved ones through faith.

I am grateful for the grace to pray the mysteries of Christ’s Passion and Crucifixion; they have helped me to hold suffering loved ones close. #catholicmom


Copyright 2020 Hillary Ibarra
Image: Pixabay (2013)