To suffer, is to learn joy
20 Οκτωβρίου 2009
The deeper sorrow carves our hearts, the more space love can fill. Often we see pain and trials at face value alone, without spirituality we fail to see their worth. Within every heartbreaking moment, every tear that falls, every time of uncertainty we’ve faced where we couldn’t see the beginning or end, there hid a blessing which helped shape our lives.
How can we learn to love selflessly if we’ve never been at the receiving end of hate? How can we relate or even begin to truly sympathize with those who suffer if we’ve not once been in their place? This is the beauty of the Passion of Christ. In every way, He suffered, thus in every way He can divinely sympathize with our own weaknesses. He is a tower and fortress to the oppressed, not only because He is our Comforter, but because He has withstood our pain. Knowing this… knowing that we as Christians should strive to emulate Christ, why do we frown in the face of trials? We should embrace them. We should rejoice in the sufferings of the Cross, knowing that sharing in those sufferings, we will also share in it’s glory, and we will understand the mysteries therein.
This world is not the place of our happiness or complete contentment. Although we are blessed beyond compare, we hardly have a taste of what’s to come. But when we begin to understand that it’s not happiness alone which satisfies, but contentment and rejoicing in every trial we’re faced with, then we can better comprehend what happiness means. I have been shaken and beaten down, I have seen things people should never see, I have felt ways people should never feel, I’ve been hurt and I’ve hurt others, life has had it’s share of tears, frustration, disappointments, darkness, hopelessness, loneliness, every type of negativity possible — and it’s by these miracles, these blessings in disguise, that I am now alive. Before, I only existed. Today, I am alive. Though I still struggle and I still fall, though I haven’t seen the last of my shortcomings or beatings, though I am weak and frail and merely stumbling along that straight and narrow way, I’m alive.
Because of days and nights without a smile I can now appreciate one. Because I’ve understood how it feels to have no one I can be a greater friend. Because I’ve seen the worst in many I can appreciate the best in those who dare to show it. Because I’ve been walked out on I’ve learned to seek out a Presence that’s real. Because I was hurt to the point of holding a grudge for nearly my entire life, I finally came to understand the liberation that forgiveness holds. I smile, I hope, I dream, I dare, I forgive, I look forward, I strive for what’s good, I pick myself up when I fall, I have sight of something with meaning, and for about a year now I feel I’ve lived life with meaning…
… and I owe it all to each and every trial I’ve ever been through, because there is no way possible I could’ve appreciated any of it without them. As silver is purified in fire, so is the soul purified in trials. As a loving father chatizes a son for correction, so too does God chastize those whom He loves. We are pruned to be made fruitful, dead branches severed and cast away. It’s hard to appreciate light without first being immersed in darkness, and sometimes we fail to see the sky until we’ve been forced on our backs. Again, to share in the glory of the Cross we must also share within it’s sufferings. To the carnal mind, a trial is a setback, to the spiritual mind, a trial is an opportunity for growth.
Let’s look patiently to the Cross when we are faced with difficulties. Let’s embrace all that’s thrown at us, in silence, in peace and in prayer, asking and hoping that God gives us the grace to find growth in such an opportunity. The broad road which leads to death is found in ease and in idleness, whereas the road to life is straight and narrow — but often only as difficult as we make it to be. Don’t ask for a lighter load, ask for a stronger back. Seek opportunity in disaster. Consider those who walked the path before you. Just as St. Paul walked in blindness for a short time before his eyes were opened to the glory of God, we should expect to experience darkness before the light. Just as Job lost everything he held dear before it was returned to him three times over, we should never expect to gain anything of value without first knowing loss. As the thief on the cross entered into spiritual life only moments before his physical death, we should be exceedingly thankful that we have been given an opportunity to become alive in Christ while we are yet so blessed. Count your blessings. Our cups are running over. Our Father has met every need and will continue to. God is present. Christ is in our midst and always has been.
Be thankful for every time you were blessed enough to be hurt, and every time you will be hurt again — because pain is only a door to happiness.