Suffering Part II

Well, much like the rain here in Seattle, the hard times that certain people suffer do not seem to end! Just the other day at Mass, we heard the Gospel of Jesus exhorting his disciples that "Whoever wishes to come after Me, must deny himself, take up his cross and follow Me." Why does that still suprise us in our own life? I often ask myself that question. Sometimes it seems like we are jarred at the cost of living as a disciple. But as Jesus goes on to say in the same Gospel, we have to go into discipleship as an all-or-nothing deal. We can't begin this journey only to fall by the wayside half way through.

Perhaps one of the reasons why discipleship is so difficult for us is because we are afraid to die to ourselves. We are afraid to give the things that Jesus asks of us. To us, these things seem very big, but they aren't in comparison to what Jesus wants to give us in return. But because we don't see the way that God sees, we hold back a bit. We hesitate. We weigh the costs of this life following Christ.

Since we are afraid to die to ourselves we often invent our own path. People invent their own teachings of Jesus, they invent their own Churches, they interpret things to suite whatever lifestyle they would like to live. They invent their own God.

And this misses the point of taking up our cross and following Jesus. He doesn't ask us to carry our cross so we can be sad and miserable and so that God gets to be sadistic. We carry our cross for the same reason that Jesus did, because through the cross and that death on the cross comes new life. If we are afraid to die, then we are afraid to truly live.

Jesus knew how hard this would be. He know how hard it would be to truly deny ourselves, to give forgiveness to people who aren't sorry, to truly love those who persecute us. It's not easy. So that's when Jesus said, "In the world you will have trouble, but do not be afraid for I have conquered the world." That's good news. It's also good news that Jesus chooses to dwell with sinners. He chooses the weak, the struggling and sinners to dine with Him and be His friends.

So don't be afraid to go ever more deeply into Jesus. Tell Him what you think, the truth of it. Tell Him when you struggle and when you suffer. There isn't the smallest thing that God doesn't notice.

And be thankful.


Anonymous said…
"And be thankful." Thanks for the reminder, sister. It can be hard to see the goodness of God when he allows us to undergo suffering. Yet, faith enables us to believe without seeing that even in our sufferings, it is truly His goodness at work.
Anonymous said…
Thank you for your blog. Everything you said is in my heart. I know that when I turn my life completely over to Jesus, it won't be easy, but it will be a beautiful suffering because I'm doing it for Him. Although I'm willing to turn it over, my husband is hesitant. So I try to turn it over in little ways like the Little Flower.

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