Wednesday, March 28, 2012

Lenten Season - Day 31

BEADS OF JOY 3-28-12 “Suffering Has Saved Many”
©2012 James Dacey, Jr. OFS

Lenten Season – Day 31
My Friends,

There are many who often wonder why Christians for example embrace pain and suffering. It's actually a really simple thing to understand once you understand the wisdom in it. Archbishop Fulton Sheen once said, "Though pain never turns into a pleasure, a pleasure can turn into a pain." Think about that. You can see that transition is so true. Tickling for example can be fun, but if overdone it becomes annoying and it almost hurts. Same with some addictions many of us have. Some of the carnal ones that begin with pleasures of sorts, but when seen in God's eye they are sin, and sin only separates us from God creating pain. Another way we can see it is like this; how many people on their death beds who were put there by the pleasures of alcohol, wild living, drug usage, and so many other things. And at the end of that long or short ride of pleasure they are knee deep in pain and suffering and maybe even dealing with the possibilities of dying at any moment. It is then that so many begin to realize the true value of their life; they see that it is fragile, limited and our actions will indeed determine our future. So many turn to God at that point.

Another insight to all this is best understood by keeping our sights fixed on the next life we are going to be with Jesus after we leave this world, again Archbishop Fulton Sheen said, "The Divine Plan is to have real joys in the next life." So our suffering here is but temporary. Now we do know that suffering doesn't always have to be only physical; we can have emotional suffering, mental suffering. Our bodies can experience so much on so many different levels. We need to be in the humility of our hearts to find the joy in having a life of suffering and pain. I will say that for many years we as a family have been faced with many endless, almost relentless attacks from satan on our family. Every single turn we made, every single step we took, there was a battle for survival. We never gave up, but I can say that I at least began to take it for what it was worth. I know that in all things Jesus has His plan for us in our lives; it doesn't matter what we see or think, for He has the plan, we just need to trust in His will for us. I told my dear friend Al Picogna, I surrender to the suffering and I offer all of myself up for God's glory. I will allow it to defeat me, so that in that defeat I offer it all up to God's glory and that turned it around for my defeat against it.

It is said by the American Poet, Franz Werfel "Sickness invites us to heaven or to hell." You see it is because our pain draws us back into ourselves our focus is no longer outside ourselves; and by doing so we will either become so focused on our own selfishness that nothing else will matter and we will be in hell, or it will turn us over to God and heaven will be our destiny. There is much to think about when we are suffering. Jesus immediately recognized the eternal value of suffering. Let's take a look at John's gospel, "As he went along, he saw a man blind from birth. His disciples asked him, "Rabbi, who sinned, this man or his parents, that he was born blind?" "Neither this man nor his parents sinned," said Jesus, "but this happened so that the work of God might be displayed in his life." John 9:1-3. We must embrace the pain and suffering, I know it's always so easy to tell people to do that; but we need to in order that we, you, us, might have the work of God shine through us.

The Question many ask though it's simple is, "What did I do to deserve this?" Why is it we first arrogantly blame God, when instead we should be praying for and thanking God for this suffering? We sometimes in our lives need to be knocked off our horse and land straight on our face in order for us to wake up. Yes it will hurt, but in the end we will realize that we can't control the horse like we thought we could, so we gain a different respect the next time, and heed caution in times of danger we are well aware of that can come. We must be grateful for our suffering, always seek out answers in God's word, "However, if you suffer as a Christian, do not be ashamed, but praise God that you bear that name." 1 Peter 4:16. I pray that all of us in our own personal sufferings can find a place to love, honor and worship Jesus in thanksgiving for such a blessing.

TODAY’S CHALLENGE: Take a few minutes and ponder our suffering as we walk through life. And then let’s Thank God for allowing us to suffer and offer it up for His glory. It may be a challenge for those who have life threatening diseases in our face within ourselves or in the life of those we love. Either way ask for God’s strength and move forward in your Thanksgiving.

Your brother in Christ Jesus & His Most Blessed Mother,
Jim (The Rosary Man) Dacey Jr OFS