When some cross presents itself in our life, let us not fear; for the All-Powerful Child has plans for those whom he loves; plans of such unfathomable beauty and wonder.
At prayer, we begin to see something of the boundless Trinitarian river of love. How we so desire to enter into it! Yet there are many tensions in our lives which can cause us to remain some distance away. There are concerns, fears and obstacles; there is some misunderstanding, some darkness in the intellect. There, too, are temptations which labor against our Faith.
A temptation which often presents itself is one which encourages us to separate those unfortunate, tense or even frightening circumstances we encounter in life from Godís plan for us. We tend to think our troubles in life are outside of Godís providence, and that if we can only extricate ourselves from them we will, then, be happy. The thought is that an unpalatable circumstance is entirely random Ė what some would call "bad luck".
In the quest to distance ourselves from every anxiety, we often begin to live in such a way as to constantly seek change for "the better". There is a self-inflicted stress in such a life; a nervous movement toward some savored goal which, once attained, turns out empty. It is like chasing a mirage. The image presents itself in what seems such clarity. Yet it can never be reached. It is an illusion.
Everyone experiences unhappiness. As St. Augustine so wonderfully expressed, our hearts will not rest until they rest in God. We will not be fully and completely happy until that point at which we are face to face with God, caught up in the Beatific Vision. Yet, though unhappiness and suffering comes to all, there is a strong tendency to develop a disordered fear of such realities. A cause of this fear is some degree of distrust in God; an effect of the same is distress. Then, when something unpleasant happens, we feel that we have been abandoned.
Further, when what we perceive as a terrible circumstance occurs, we find it difficult to imagine how something good could come of it. We tend to fixate on the arrival of some suffering, closing our eyes to what lies beyond. We self-limit our sight, so to speak: we have an obdurate tendency to evaluate based only on our senses: we see only what reaches the eyes; we hear only what sounds in the ears; we feel only what can be physically touched. Yet if we are to live with the Christ Child we have to look beyond the surface; we have to have eternal sight; we have to hear with our hearts, sense with our immortal and spiritual souls.
If we truly have faith it should not be so difficult to trust God. Understand that what things appear to be on the surface are just that: surface appearances. There is so much more. And it is all in Godís control. Catholics and other Christians believe in the All-Powerful God who is infinitely capable and loving; a personal God who created us, cares for us, and guides us. Nevertheless, it is unfortunate that many see little but randomness in life and chaos in Providence.
There is hardly a more terrifying example of suffering than Auschwitz. In exchange of his life for another, St. Maximilian Kolbe was put to a torturous death there. Yet we can be certain that he is now thrilled over what some might see as only a tragic end to his life. With wisdom from heaven, St. Maximilian illuminates the relationship between happiness and the misunderstood circumstances of life: "We are sometimes depressed because we do not see the relationship that exists between our happiness and these circumstances which sadden us; on the contrary, because of our mindsí limitation, we are unable to grasp everything. By having faith in God, even without understanding things directly, we can give him great glory, because we acknowledge his wisdom, his goodness, and his power."
While the suffering at Auschwitz was horrifically evil, the sadness St. Maximilian encountered there was temporary. Further, by embracing the cross of suffering which was presented to him, he transformed suffering into a reality of joy. Is that not what Christ did? By all appearances, our Lordís suffering on the Cross was nothing but defeat. Yet in its true dimension it was a success so great as to be unimaginable.
As the frightening realities of the Holocaust raged around St. Teresa Benedicta (Edith Stein), she wrote of the cross which had been placed upon the Jewish people: "Most of them will not understand it. But those who do understand must accept it willingly in the name of all. I wanted to do that. . . . But in what the bearing of the cross was to consist I did not yet know." One week after arriving at Auschwitz, St. Teresa Benedicta of the Cross and her sister Rosa were sent to the gas chambers.
As yet another example, ...
Rate This Article
Leave a Comment
More Christmas / Advent News
- A Layman's Plea for Tolerance of Catholics
- A Question For The Christmas Season: Do You Want To Become A Saint?
- Every Leader Supporting Abortion is Herod, Every Child Killed a Holy Innocent
- Feast of St. Stephen, Proto-Martyr, Calls us to Reflect on the Gift of Deacons
- Fr. Sly on the Feast of St John in the Octave of Christmas
- Welcoming the Birth of the Redeemer in the Womb: Jesus was an Embryonic Person
- Merry Christmas: Love is Born on Christmas Morn and the World is Born Anew
- Pope St Leo the Great: Christian, Remember Your Dignity
- Pope Benedict XVI: If God's Light is Extinguished, Man's Divine Dignity is also Extinguished
- Fr. Paul Schenck: Finding Living Faith on Catechetical Sunday
- The Movie Yellow: Incest as 'Normal' and Cassavates's Slides Into the World of Woes
- The Chicago School Teachers Strike Reveals the Need For School Choice
- The Sexual Barbarians and the Dissolution of Culture
- The Happy Priest Challenges Us to Ask: Who is Jesus to Me?
- Michael Coren on Canadian Public Schools: Teachers, leave those kids alone
- We Cannot Ignore Our Consciences: Cardinal Dolan On Religious Liberty
- In the Face of Danger, Successor of Peter Travels to Lebanon as a Messenger of Peace
- Reflections on the Dignity and Vocation of Women: Who or What?