Wednesday, February 22, 2017

Lent #1 - How do we endure our crosses?

The Parable of the Weeds

Jesus told them another parable:
The kingdom of heaven is like a man who sowed good seed in his field. But while everyone was sleeping, his enemy came and sowed weeds among the wheat, and went away. When the wheat sprouted and formed heads, then the weeds also appeared. “The owner’s servants came to him and said, ‘Sir, didn’t you sow good seed in your field? Where then did the weeds come from?’ ‘An enemy did this,’ he replied.

“The servants asked him, ‘Do you want us to go and pull them up?’ ‘No,’ he answered, ‘because while you are pulling the weeds, you may uproot the wheat with themLet both grow together until the harvest. At that time I will tell the harvesters: First collect the weeds and tie them in bundles to be burned; then gather the wheat and bring it into my barn."

Mathew 13: 24-29

What does the Gospel tells us?

Like the Jews, we want a redeemer who will destroy the slightest traces of sin and suffering in the world. However, in this gospel, God says He will let evil grow in maturity with the good. He intends us to live among sinners in this corrupted world. Sometimes we find that the more effort we put into showing God we love him by serving him, the more suffering we must endure.

Suffering for Christ

St Colette says, “If there be a true way that leads to the Everlasting Kingdom, it is most certainly that of suffering, patiently endured.” It is a consolation that this is the most certain way to heaven.

St Thomas a Kempis says,” How can you be a friend of Christ if you are always looking for ways to avoid hardship?

Jesus was willing to suffer on the cross, despite being despised and hated by the world and abandoned by his friends. So why complain about our enemies to our Lord? So why should we expect all of our enemies to become our friends and suddenly come to ask us for our forgiveness?

How can a good God who loves us so much allow us to suffer?

  • Saint Therese of Lisieux says, “No, our suffering never makes Him happy, but this suffering is necessary for us. So, He allows it while turning away His head."  
  • Sin having made suffering necessary, God wills it, but out of love, since it is the means to bring man to love Him. Bitter remedy, but, given man's egoism, necessary remedy for the soul's health and happiness.
  • "It costs God to make us drink at the fountain of tears," wrote the saint; "but He knows that it is the only way to prepare us to know Him as He knows Himself and become gods ourselves!"

How do we endure our crosses or suffering?

  • St Paul tells us "let the peace of Christ rejoice in our hearts."
  • St Thomas a Kempis says, "we must turn our whole hearts to God. Place none of our affection to things of this world. Place no value on external things but pay attention to that which is inside of us. The kingdom of God is inside of us. This is a kingdom of peace and joy inside of us. We carry this in the state of grace. Do not let the inordinate things or distractions blind us from recognizing this."
  • Blessed Elizabeth of the Trinity says, “it seems to me that I have found my heaven on Earth, since heaven is God and God is within my soul.
  • The more clearly I can see the kingdom of Heaven within me, the more easily I can say, "let the peace of Christ rejoice in my heart." 
This is the way to endure our daily crosses.

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