Sunday, April 17, 2011

Better Angels of our nature

I have said this to you, that in me you may have peace. In the world you have tribulation; but be of good cheer, I have overcome the world." Jn 16:33

Certainly it is true that in this world, we often have troubles. These can be (and often are) of our own making - but also often come on us from outside; without warning or without time for preparation. My old mother often has a saying for times like these - "Offer it up!" she would say. The exclaimation point isn't a literary device - she means it - offer it up with joy.

When "bad things happen to good people," often our first response it to ask, "why?"

The spirit of "offer it up!" does not ask why. It says, when I have suffering, instead of asking "why?", ask "how?", as in, "how can this suffering work for the greater glory of God?"

In this, as in everything important, we are following the Lord. Through His suffering, He redeemed the world. And He said, "where I am, there my servant will be." Well there He is, lifted up on a Cross. And so then there we should be, uniting our physical, mental, spiritual suffering with His. Be assured, at least in some small way, our suffering, united through an act of the will, "offered up!" with His, places us with the Master. And He promised, if we die with Him, so too will we rise with Him.

To paraphrase Thomas Merton (sorry, I don't have the quote right in front of me):
Living in Christ is not complicated; but it is difficult.

"Offering it up!" may end up being one of the most difficult things we ever do. But I think it is still easier than suffering without result, our only consolation an unanswerable "Why?"

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