Catching a Cold the Christian Way

Dear Jesus:  You invite me to enter into your suffering and death, and to embrace my mortal state.  I thank you for my headache, I praise you for taking away my voice, and I firmly believe that my running nose is from your hand and is to be accepted as your most holy will.

Jesus: do you think I should take an Advil?  As I stand before the medicine cabinet and contemplate your five wounds, and meditate upon you sweating blood in the Garden, I ask myself:  wouldn’t Jesus have taken Ibuprofen if he could have?

Or how about this one, Lord:  I am aware that unless I take up my cross daily, I cannot be your disciple, you’ve reminded me several times, but, does that mean that I should not swallow enough Vitamin C right now, enough to kill a small animal, so that I do not get this cold?   If it be your will, Father, let this head cold pass me by.   But, not as I will, but as you will.

So, if I am to stay with you, in the Garden, where you have no one to comfort you, am I leaving you alone if I just put my throbbing head down to take a little nap?

I thank you, dear Jesus, for this little taste of my mortality.  Only you would (maybe?) find the humor in grinding my entire routine and life to halt, forcing me to realize my own frailty and limitations, doing so by the use of a microbe… something so tiny that I cannot even see it.  That is truly humiliating.

You gave your back to the little creatures who beat you, and you let us strip you naked, and you let us crown your head because you emptied yourself to take the form of a slave… can I let myself become weaker than the virus that is attacking my body?

Can I love the virus that is attacking my body?  “Father, forgive the little foreigners inside of me- they know not what they are doing.”

Can I learn to love every little head cold, stomach ache, fever, and sore throat as the foretaste of the death that will bring me to you one day, I do not know the day nor the hour?

Or should I get a flu shot?

Dear Jesus:  where is the line between preserving life and fleeing death?  Where is the line between embracing your cross, and needless suffering?  To medicate, or not to medicate… this is the question at 2am, and, it’s really the question of our time isn’t it?

And, dear Jesus, why is it that you had to give me both medical science AND theology?  Who knew catching a cold would be so complicated?  Perhaps I should just go back to bed.

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About Father Nathan Reesman

Father Reesman is a priest of the Archdiocese of Milwaukee. He is the Shared Pastor of Immaculate Conception Parish, and also of Saint Frances Cabrini Parish, both in West Bend, Wisconsin.
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