“On Difficulty and Suffering”
“If we wish to follow Christ closely, we cannot choose an easy, quiet life. It will be a demanding life, but full of joy.” –Jorge Mario Bergoglio
Following Jesus is difficult. It’s demanding. It’s even painful at times. Bergoglio is certainly correct to point out this fact–a fact that manifests itself frequently in Sacred Scripture. In the tenth chapter of Matthew’s gospel, Jesus says to his disciples, “You will be hated by all because of my name. But the one who endures to the end will be saved,” (Matthew 10:22). The Lord associates salvation with endurance. Not everyone who runs the race of faith will merit eternal life; only those who finish will gain it. I’ve found that it is a struggle to live in a world in which God allows barriers to be thrown in the way of our salvation. He allows suffering, pain, war, and many other evils. He tests us with failures and with defeats. God throws us into the fire to see if our metal will bear the heat. Though we are but the sheep of a humble pastor, He feeds us to wolves and commands us to obey.
All of this injustice seems unbearable and nonsensical at first, but then I think of the life of Jesus, which–though perfect–was far from “ideal.” In Jesus we have a God who humbled Himself so fully as to suffer with us in a fallen world. Though He Himself had not fallen, He lived amongst the poor masses in a boundary region of the Roman Empire. His own people rejected Him and mocked Him. They beat Him and murdered Him. Yet He did the will of God the Father regardless. How wonderful is the Gospel of St. John, which makes evident the extent to which our path to God should mirror the relationship between Son and Father! How magnificent of an example is the Passion of Our Lord, which fortifies us in the darkest moments of our lives! How strengthening is Jesus’ prayer in Gethsemane, which shows us that Christ illuminates our doubts and fears with his own!
Are you feeling the emotions of fear and doubt today? Pray that Jesus will take away your plight if such an act of grace is the will of the Father.
May the Lord bless you and your families. May He strengthen you with His peace and His love!