Compassion for the struggles of others…brings the Kingdom of God close to all
Waiting for justice, waiting for a good job, waiting for sickness to pass, is not usually comfortable or pleasant for us, unless we have a vision for the future and trust in God.
But, you might ask, why is God taking so long? Part of the reason is that God usually works through someone else to help “you”. And that someone might be resisting the call.
This quote from John C. Maxwell encourages us to look at the historical leaders of our FAITH journey: they give us courage to be patient and persevere.
Abraham: waited 25 years for a promised son. God prepares leaders in a slow-cooker, not in a microwave oven. More important than the awaited goal is the work God does in us while we wait. Waiting deepens and matures us, levels our perspective, and broadens our understanding.
St Ignatius of Loyola SJ (founder of the Jesuits), said: “pray as though everything depends on God, but work as if everything depends on you.” In the joining of our prayer and work, God has an opportunity to work miracles of change for the good.
Today, in the light of today’s readings, we have a chance to focus on the primary blockage that many of us carry while waiting for God to answer our prayers. What is it, you ask?
Our over-developed sense of importance and expectations: sense of entitlement, without actually working for what we want or need. Little children are entitled… but as we grow up, our entitlements reduce… until we are old and feeble! Someone once said: there is no elevator to success… we must take the stairs.
As painful as some teachers were, or are, harassing us over homework and behaviour, we should give thanks for the tough ones. They prepare us to be humble and interact well in our future life after the protected environments of home and school.
I’m not a big fan of the ban on corporal punishment. Why? Because, if done in moderation, it teaches children more surely than words that life is tough: work hard and behave yourself!
The pain of getting six on the hand is nothing compared to the pain of emotional rejection and physical exclusion we will suffer through bad behaviour.
In the army the famous, and dreaded, Sargent-Major is well “hated” by almost every soldier going through army training. But after they have tasted war, they come back and say “thanks.”
It’s interesting that the United Nations recently introduced “neglect” as a form of child abuse. Most of us, probably, think of neglect in terms of shelter, food, clothing and school. However, the failure to properly – and appropriately – discipline children is also “neglect.”
Happiness and emotional security will only come to us through honest hard work. Any other way is like a short-cut that destroys our future.
Some of you have heard of the little boy who tried to help the butterfly emerge from the cocoon: by cutting away the cocoon, the boy saved the butterfly from struggling. But, once free, it could not fly and it quickly died. The struggle to come free is nature’s way (God’s design) to help push blood to the ends of the butterfly’s wings.
Only God knows what dangers we will face tomorrow: so, by trusting God, we can see in our struggles, God’s plan to strengthen us and prepare us for the dangers we will face later.
To be sure, God never likes to see anyone suffer injustice. And God desires that justice be done quickly. When we see people suffering, we are encouraged to be the eyes, feet, hands, and mouth of God. It is through our care for people and justice that true happiness touches us.
As St Paul says: “For God did not give us a spirit of cowardice, but rather of power and love and self-control. So do not be ashamed of your testimony to our Lord,” And our testimony must be more than words. If we want to feel God close to us, we must come close to the poor: especially the orphan, the widow and the stranger.
I feel for our youth who have so much energy and yet, many times, are stopped or slowed down by a lack of means: no mentor, no encouragement, mistreatment by employers, lack of jobs, etc.
At the same time, the youth need to seek healing and develop their talents.
* Healing for past abuse so that we do not hurt others as we grow older.
* Develop our talents, so we can contribute to society with pride, and not as a handout.
An unknown author said:
a little faith will bring your soul to heaven, but great faith will bring heaven to your soul.
By Gerard Conlan, OMI