Wednesday, March 7, 2007

Lent Two Weeks on

Two weeks ago today we inaugurated the holy season of Lent. It is a good time, in light of one of the petitions from Morning Prayer today, to take up briefly the role that suffering and struggling play in our sanctification: "help us to receive good things from your bounty with a deep sense of gratitude- and to accept with patience the evil that comes to us." When bad things come our way, we are presented with opportunities for self-reflection and to acquire virtue, not the least among which is humility. Our faith, our relationship with the Lord in prayer, helps us to frame our difficulties as part of a bigger picture, the true picture. The ability to do this is nothing less than the God-given gift of hope. As the author of the Letter to the Hebrews writes: "You have also forgotten the exhortation addressed to you as sons: 'My son, do not disdain the discipline of the Lord or lose heart when reproved by him; for whom the Lord loves, he disciplines; he scourges every son he acknowledges'" (Heb 12,5-6).

Therefore, may we seek and find God in all things, even our trials and struggles, maybe even especially in our trials and struggles, whether they result from our own choices, or just happen to us unexpectedly. After all, the point from Hebrews holds even when we fail to perceive the relative justice of that which causes us to suffer and struggle. Besides, bearing wrongs patiently is one of the Spiritual Works of Mercy, perhaps the most difficult one to practice.

Father,
teach us to live good lives,
encourage us with your support
and bring us to eternal life.
We ask this through our Lord Jesus Christ, your Son,
who lives and reigns with you and the Holy Spirit,
one God, for ever and ever.

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