"Christ lives, he has overcome death, he has overcome all these powers. We live in this certainty, in this freedom, and in this joy." (Pope Benedict XVI, General Audience, 12 XI 2008)
"Do not accept anything as the truth if it lacks love. And do not accept anything as love which lacks the truth! One without the other becomes a destructive lie." (Blessed John Paul II, Canonisation of Edith Stein, 11 X 1998)

Sunday, 22 August 2010

Discipline/Suffering

"All discipline, at the time we get it, seems to be a matter for sadness rather than joy - but later on it produces fruit that yields peace and righteousness in those who have been trained by it. Therefore brace up your drooping hands and your weakened knees, and make straight tracks with your feet, in order that what is lame may not be dislocated, but rather cured." (The letter to the Hebrews 12:11-13, freshly translated by Fr Nicholas King, SJ)
I was struck when I read this passage this morning. It seemed to be saying to me that I should submit to the sufferings of this life so that they can bear fruit. That if I were to fight against them, then all the good that could come from the "training" would bear less fruit as the healing would not be proper. The author of the letter urges us to accept any suffering with the correct disposition so that it may bear much fruit. How difficult this is! Humanly, impossible, but with God's help it can be done.
Suffering is a divine thing indeed, as witnessed by Jesus and many Saints who have managed to heed the advise given in the letter to the Hebrews. May God help us to appreciate this gift He imparts in the understanding that training can cause pain. But, as we often hear, and I apologise for using such a crude colloquial phrase: "No pain, no gain."
One last thought from St Faustina: "If the angels were capable of envy, they would envy us for two things: one is the receiving of Holy Communion, and the other is suffering." (Divine Mercy in My Soul, Saint Faustina)

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