Tuesday of the Seventh Week in Ordinary Time
February 21, 2017
Today's Saint Quote: Peter Damian
How do you (Mary, Mother of Mercy) appease...
My Lord, give me a simple and humble heart able to love and serve others with sincere joy. Amen.
Have you experienced trials that challenge your trust in God? Of course you have! It's very normal. As today's first reading says, when we serve the Lord, we should prepare for trials. Why? Because we're making a difference in the world -- in people's lives -- and not everyone wants to accept this change. Therefore, our efforts cause persecution, rejection, and other opportunities for us to practice what we profess.
This point was driven home to me one day when I tried to minister to a woman in church who was shutting herself off from the community. It's not so much her rejection of my outreach that challenged me, but my reaction to her judgmentalism. I became angry at her, and then God put me in the path of someone else who was angry. This challenged me to recognize my own unforgiveness.
The trials of this world expose us. Are we judgmental about those who are judgmental? Are we unforgiving toward those who are unforgiving? Are we unloving to those who don't love us? Are we unkind to those who are unkind?
Having our sins exposed by the sins of others can be the most important trials of our lives! These are what stretch us, but only if we accept the challenge to grow. These are what purify us, like gold tested in fire, so that we are strengthened in holiness. These are what help us become faithful to the Lord whom we claim to love.
Are we truly sincere of heart and steadfast in our love for God? Times of adversity reveal the answer. It's okay to feel sorrowful during hardships, but do we trust God enough to wait on him with patience? Do we cling to him instead of trying to solve problems with short-cuts and retaliation? Do we place whatever befalls us into the context of our love relationship with God, who assures us (see Romans 8:28) that he is going to turn everything into a blessing for us?
A deep relationship with God enables us to trust in his mercy and compassion, even while we cry on his shoulder and moan to him in the pain of our sufferings.
In a deep relationship with God, we're not discouraged by what we see during the trial, because we remain certain that God is doing something wonderful that we cannot yet see.
In a deep relationship with God, understanding comes not in our minds but in our hearts, where love, not brain-power, helps us realize the help that he is giving.
Our love for God is deepened most when purified and strengthened by testing.
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