Saturday, February 23, 2013

I Am Not Very "Good at Suffering"

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I am not scandalized by the fact that I am not very “good at suffering.” Perhaps I am improving. Suffering produces humility. It simplifies life. It teaches us patience. It teaches us what is really important. It is a grace that allows us to help others, to share their burdens, to be merciful to our fragile brothers and sisters. It heightens our sensitivity to the terrible evil that is in the world, and to the coldness of human hearts that reject the love of God. In it we begin to share in the sorrow Jesus expressed over the world, and the burning love with which He desires to save it.

God gives us the grace to want to satisfy that burning love of Jesus, to grow to the measure of that love. We also begin to glimpse those terrible dark places: human hearts without God, burdened with the horrible reality that we call “mortal sin” and not even knowing it; human hearts that are willingly seeking the darkness, or who are oppressed by violence and can only bring forth violence in return. It is here especially where Jesus’s pain reaches its greatest anguish.  He loves each of these hearts, and He draws us into this love too.

All of this awareness comes with time, and in the measure in which God chooses to give it. I remain at the beginning of this mysterious road. I can say these things, and yet, when it comes to my own trials I seem to lose sight of the connections and start to flounder. My sufferings seem to be nothing else but humiliation; I feel like I am being crushed, or suffocated. And what is it after all—petty things! The voice of discouragement begins to creep in. There is always the danger of discouragement. But God’s mercy is stronger, and I cry out to Him.

I have begun to trust Him because I have seen that He does not leave me alone. It is like that moment in Peter’s life when, after beginning to walk on the water, he panics and starts to sink. Jesus reaches out and grabs him. When I am drowning, this is the one thing and the essential thing: let Him grab me.