Sunday, October 9, 2011
The Narrow Path less Traveled....
Although a part of me has always known, I do not believe I have always understood as deeply as I do now. The only way to our Lord is to suffer with Him. This may sound out-of-date or as though out of an ancient book on some ancient saint's life.
However, this mystery of suffering is not to be underestimated. It is precisely through this path that is the path avoided and even shunned by humans. It is in our animal-nature to withdraw from pain and suffering. This why we run to the medicine cabinet at the first sign of pain. This is why we try to avoid uncomfortable confrontation with those in our lives -to avoid the pain and discomfort of setting things straight. This is why we feel sorry for ourselves when someone at work or at home has hurt our feelings.
Before, I go any further I should make myself clear that we should not look for suffering or seek out new ways to suffer for Christ. He sends us the crosses, it our responsibility as Christians to embrace these crosses that He sends and to always Trust in HIs will for us. Jesus does not wish us to be sad and despondent over our sufferings and trials within this life- He wants us to endure them with Joy and love for HIm! Remember Suffering+Love=Joy. You cannot love and not suffer. This is why so many songs, poems, etc. speak of the hurts and pains of love. Love is a paradox in itself and in order to grow and become more perfect, we must suffer. Just as a mother must experience labor pains to bring a life into the world, so we must endure the labors of our own life in order to be born of everlasting life!
We should not lose hope when sufferings come that our feelings are not one's of joy but of dread. Even Christ Himself suffered terribly in the Garden of Gesthemene, the night before his Crucifixion. He could see what He would have to endure physically, emotionally, and spiritually- all for love of us and to carry out the Will of His Father! Christ suffered such terrible anxiety that he sweat blood over it! So- although we may sometimes feel anxiety - we should offer it up to our Lord to perfect us in our suffering and repeat over and over to Him- Jesus, I trust in You and I accept my suffering as Your Will for me to bring me closer to You! "Not my will, but Your will be done"
For Christ once said to St. Faustina: "Your sufferings will lead to your sanctification"
What hope this one line brings into my heart and such consolation as well! Take heart - for the more you suffer, the more dear you are to Christ's Heart.
Christ rejoices over souls that place their complete trust in Him. Even though we do not feel it, we still please our Lord just willing ourselves to trust Him. For He knows that this requires greater faith and love in Him -than knowing or feeling His Consolations for us. He personally picks up such little souls and brings them to the heights of sanctity!
However, such little souls are not aware of their sanctity because their humility and littleness keeps their feet in the palm of His hand -yet His hand be lifted towards Heaven. The little ones do not realize how high they are - for they are being carried by their Father.
It also occurred to me that every time we receive the sacrament of confession- we are once again as white as snow and crowned as daughters and sons of Our King in Heaven. Every time we sin we tarnish these crowns and bring scandal to the kingdom of God. The cause of our fall is because we place too much trust in ourselves and not enough in Christ. We do not call on Him as we should when faced with temptation or occasions of sin. Instead we try to fight it ourselves without remembering our own weakness and misery. When we turn this weakness and misery over to our Lord and call upon the names of Jesus and Mary during temptations- We will receive the necessary graces to overcome such temptations. Once overcome, it strengthens our virtues and graces within us to overcome a more powerful temptation in the future.
The most powerful tool besides the Eucharist, is prayer and the Rosary. While saying the rosary our minds are lifted to the mysteries of the life of Christ and the one who bore Him- while our lips are proclaiming the words of scripture- The Our Father and the words of Gabriel to Mary- Hail full of grace!
Lord- Today I offer You all of myself- my failings, my miseries, my pain, but most of all my love and trust in you. Please make me as you will me to be and take away my own will and make it only YOUR Will. I realize how weak I am and know I cannot do anything myself. I need You in all the moments of my life if I am to do anything worthy of entering Your kingdom and gazing onto your omnipotent face.
I empty myself Lord- so You may fill me with good and Holy virtues and graces- to carry out Your Will for me on earth.
I love you - but help me to love you as I should!