Monday, June 12, 2017

Why do things have to be hard? I was speaking to someone on the phone just yesterday about life. That was the question she posed to me. Why can’t some things just be easy? (click the link to read more)

June 12, 2017: Monday of the Tenth Week in Ordinary Time
Lectionary: 359
2 COR1:1-7
PS 34:2-3, 4-5, 6-7, 8-9
MT 5:1-12

Why do things have to be hard?  I was speaking to someone on the phone just yesterday about life.   That was the question she posed to me.   Why can’t some things just be easy?  Some things are easy but when everything is going wrong it all seems to gather and grow like an out of control snowball rolling down a mountainside.  It’s easy to get stuck in that mindset as well.  The thing is God never promised us a life without pain or sorrow.  His own Son suffered and died a horrible death after being tormented, abused, and ridiculed.    Somehow we think that Christ on the cross meant we wouldn’t have to suffer.  Christ, though, continually reminded us to take up our own crosses and follow Him.    Where is He leading?  To Calvary.   To our own deaths, our own suffering, our own difficulties for the sake of God’s kingdom.

Saint Paul reminds us in the first reading that we aren’t to simply suffer in silence or alone.   We are to share with one another not just the suffering but the blessings and fruit that comes from it.   Our attitude can be one of gratitude and growth, or sorrow and stagnation.   We can choose to come through our suffering or live in our suffering with joy.  How difficult that can be at times.   We don’t just roll over and accept our suffering without prayer, yearning, and effort.     We also don’t reject our suffering as some fault of our own sin but rather we can offer it up for the sake of the body of Christ.   That’s a beautiful Catholic teaching there, that I can continue to suffer as a prayer.   For some reason, I missed that as a Protestant all those years.   I believed completely in the statement of “Pray at all times without ceasing.”   Yet, would I have prayed and been filled with joy at suffering because it was a prayer as well?

Jesus reminds us in the beatitudes of the simple notion that our vulnerability, our weakness, is where God can meet us and strengthen us.   When we have it all together, what need have we of anyone else?  It’s in our sorrow, in our meek attitudes, in our poverty that we have need of a savior.   By submitting ourselves to His Holy Will, which is love and mercy itself, we open ourselves to His Spirit to change us.  When my stomach is full I don’t notice the food that lays around the house.   When I have been fasting for 23 or 24 hours it’s all I seem to notice.  The same with all pleasures of a sensate nature.   How then can we expect God to fill our lives with His presence if we are constantly filling them with our own hedonistic pleasures?  In a land of plenty, it’s easy to forget discipline.   To forget that in the sermon on the mount Jesus reminds us that true obedience to God, true adoption as Children of God, means being like Christ himself.  Meek, poor, humble, empty of our own wants and desires and filled instead with a heart to follow God’s will for us and the world.  Lord help me to have the strength to do just that.

His servant and yours,
Brian Mullins