Monday, July 30, 2012

The Life He Has Given Us

It is good to live, to be affirmed, to be treated with justice, kindness and dignity, to flourish as a human being. The physical and earthly needs of the human person and human society are a concern of the Church because they too are the object of God’s mercy. God wants to comfort us in our afflictions and console us in our sorrows, but above all He wants to teach our hearts that He is with us, always.

He wants to open our hearts to the experience of something that we cannot perceive by ourselves: that the realities of our daily life mean more—not less—than we understand. Suffering must be endured, not because life is less important that we had hoped, but because it is more important that we can imagine. It is the place where God is with us.

Our hearts long for happiness, for “life.” But what is “life”? What is happiness? Do we find it only in that space of time that “belongs to us,” where we imagine that God sits in the background and allows us to play with reality, until He starts taking our toys away because “playtime is over”? No! This is not what life is! Life is God with us, every moment—in every joy (God delights in our joy) and also in the abyss....

In our trials, we may not feel the presence of God, but in our endurance and in our prayer (even our most inarticulate and desperate prayer) He is leading us to the truth that every moment of life has value because He is with us. And so we must open our hearts to Him and allow Him to shape us according to the mystery of His love. We must pray in faith and hope, that we might love God who embraces us within the life He has given us....

God knows how hard it is to suffer. But He has created us to love. Our hearts are made for God. We can only grow in this life by recognizing Him and loving Him more. Do I feel like I cannot love Him more? Do I want Him to draw away, at least a little, and give me back some of my space? Of course I feel that way, but I must pray and beg Him to teach me to love Him more, because His presence and His love are what is real in my life.

When we endure suffering, we are called to do so not with a merely stoic resignation, but with abandonment to His loving presence that is really with us and in us. And so we endure in the conviction that God offers us His love—the only fulfillment of the human heart—here and now, in the midst of our sufferings and the plodding of our daily lives. We are called to put our hearts on the line, to allow ourselves to be wounded by the hope that even in this darkness it is possible to love and to be loved, because He is with us and He loves us now. And we know that love—in the end—is always worth the risk.

The abyss is the hollow of the hands of God.

--excerpt from John Janaro's book Never Give Up: My Life and God's Mercy
To order the entire book, please see this link: