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Posts Tagged ‘Difficulties’

“God is good and He loves you”

In 01 Daily Meditations on 2016/05/01 at 12:00 AM
Woes? Setbacks deriving from one thing or another? Can’t you see that this is the will of your Father God, who is good and who loves you – loves you personally – more than all the mothers in the world can possibly love their children? (The Forge, 929)

But do not forget that being with Jesus means we shall most certainly come upon his Cross. When we abandon ourselves into God’s hands, he frequently permits us to taste sorrow, loneliness, opposition, slander, defamation, ridicule, coming both from within and from outside. This is because he wants to mould us into his own image and likeness. He even tolerates that we be called lunatics and be taken for fools.

This is the time to love passive mortification which comes, hidden perhaps or barefaced and insolent, when we least expect it. They can even go so far as to strike the sheep with the very stones that should have been thrown at the wolves: the follower of Christ experiences in his own flesh that those who have a duty to love him, treat him instead in ways that range from mistrust to hostility, from suspicion to hatred. They look upon him with misgiving, as if he were a liar, because they do not believe it is possible to have personal dealings with God, an interior life; and all the while, with atheists and those who are indifferent to God (people who are usually impertinent and rude), they behave in a most amicable and understanding manner.

Our Lord may even allow his followers to be attacked with a weapon that never does honour to its user, the weapon of personal insult; or to be subjected to a smear campaign, the tendentious and indictable result of a massive campaign of lies: for not everyone is endowed with a sense of fairness and good taste.

This is the way Jesus fashions the souls of those he loves, while at the same time never failing to give them inner calm and joy, because they are fully aware that, even with a hundred lies, the devils are incapable of making a single truth; and he impresses on them a living conviction that they will only find comfort when they make up their minds to do without it. (Friends of God, 301)

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“The strong man will at times suffer, but he stands firm”

In 01 Daily Meditations on 2015/07/24 at 12:00 AM
The facade appears full of strength and resilience. But how much softness and lack of willpower there is within! You must hold to your determination not to let your virtues become fancy dress but clothes which define your character. (Furrow, 777)

No man, whether he be a Christian or not, has an easy life. To be sure, at certain times it seems as though everything goes as we had planned. But this generally lasts for only a short time. Life is a matter of facing up to difficulties and of experiencing in our hearts both joy and sorrow. It is in this forge that man can acquire fortitude, patience, magnanimity and composure.

The person with fortitude is one who perseveres in doing what his conscience tells him he ought to do. He does not measure the value of a task exclusively by the benefit he receives from it, but rather by the service he renders to others. The strong man will at times suffer, but he stands firm; he may be driven to tears, but he will brush them aside. When difficulties come thick and fast, he does not bend before them. (Friends of God, 77

“Each one of you should strive to become another Christ”

In 01 Daily Meditations on 2012/08/22 at 9:11 AM
It has cost a lot to begin getting rid of those niggling worries and forgetting about those personal things you were looking forward to. They may have been few and not very splendid, but they were deeply rooted. In exchange, you are sure now that you are interested and concerned about your brothers, and only about them, for you have learned to discover Jesus Christ in your neighbor. (Furrow, 765)

If we do not wish to waste our time in useless activities, or in making excuses about the difficulties in our environment — for there have always been difficulties ever since Christianity began — we must remember that Christ has decreed that success in attracting our fellow men will depend, as a rule, on how much interior life we ourselves have. Christ has stipulated that our apostolic endeavors will only be effective if we are saints; rather (let me put it more correctly) if we strive to be faithful, for while we are on this earth we shall never actually be saints. It may seem hard to believe, but both God and our fellow men require from us an unswerving faithfulness that is true to its name and is consequent down to the last detail, with no half measures or compromises, a faithfulness to the fullness of the Christian vocation which we lovingly accept and caringly practice.

Some of you might think I am referring only to a select few. Don’t let the promptings of cowardice or easygoing ways deceive you so easily. Feel, instead, God urging each one of you on, to become another Christ, ipse Christus, Christ himself. To put it simply, God is urging us to make our actions consistent with the demands of our faith. For our sanctity, the holiness we should be striving for, is not a second class sanctity. (Friends of God, 5-6)

“The greatest revolution of all times”

In 01 Daily Meditations on 2011/11/30 at 9:01 AM

If we Christians really lived in accordance with our faith, the greatest revolution of all times would take place. The effectiveness of our co-redemption depends on each one of us. You should meditate on this. (Furrow, 945)

You will feel completely responsible when you realize that, before God, you have only duties. He already sees to it that you are granted rights. (Furrow, 946)

Here is a thought to help you in difficult moments. “The more my faithfulness increases, the better will I be able to contribute to the growth of others in that virtue”. How good it is to feel supported by each other. (Furrow, 948)

You run the great risk of being satisfied with living, or thinking that you have to live, “like a good boy”, who stays in a cosy and neat house, with no problems, and knowing only happiness. That is a caricature of the home in Nazareth. Because Christ brought happiness and order, he went out to spread those treasures among men and women of all times. (Furrow, 952)

“You do not trust yourself at all, but trust in God for everything”

In 01 Daily Meditations on 2011/08/16 at 7:11 AM

You have never felt so absolutely free as you do now that your freedom is interwoven with love and detachment, with security and insecurity; for you do not trust yourself at all, but trust in God for everything. (Furrow, 787)

God’s love is a jealous love. He is not satisfied if we come to meet him with conditions. He longs for us to give ourselves completely, without keeping dark corners in our heart, where the joy and happiness of grace and the supernatural gifts cannot reach. Perhaps you are thinking, ‘if I say “yes” to this exclusive Love might I not lose my freedom?’…

Each one of us has at some time or other experienced that serving Christ Our Lord involves suffering and hardship; to deny this would imply that we had not yet found God. A soul in love knows however that when such suffering comes it is only a fleeting impression; the soul soon finds that the yoke is easy and the burden light, because Jesus is carrying it upon his shoulders as he embraced the wood of the Cross when our eternal happiness was at stake [1]. But there are people who do not understand. They rebel against the Creator, in a sad, petty, impotent rebellion, and they blindly repeat the futile complaint recorded in the Psalms, ‘let us break away from their bondage, rid ourselves of their toils’ [2]. They shrink from the hardship of fulfilling their daily task with heroic silence and naturalness, without show or complaint. They have not realized that even when God’s Will seems painful and its demands wounding, it coincides perfectly with our freedom, which is only to be found in God and in his plans.

Such people barricade themselves behind their freedom. ‘My freedom! My freedom!’ they cry. They have their freedom, but they don’t use it. They look at it, they set it up, a clay idol for their petty minds to worship. Is this freedom? What use is this treasure to them, if there is no commitment guiding their whole lives? Such behaviour goes against their very dignity and nobility as human beings. They are left aimless, with no clear path to guide their footsteps on this earth. You and I have met such people. They then let themselves be carried away by childish vanity, by selfish conceit, by sensuality. (Friends of God, 28-29)

An Essential Virtue: Fortitude

In 07 Observations on 2011/08/04 at 10:11 PM

 FORTITUDE

Fortitude guides us to do what is right despite any difficulty. A Christian can expect to encounter difficult situations and hostility from the enemies of God. The Cross is never far from those who follow Jesus Christ.  There are martyrs in every age.

God is aware of our limitations when He gives us a task or permits something to happen to us.  He stands by us when people try to confuse us by efforts to undermine our faith, when our Christian values are ridiculed or when we’re pressured to conform. Fortitude helps us to forgive those who have offended us, to be patient with those who irritate us or are disagreeable and to return good for evil.

It is only with God’s help that our soul endures trials and is purified by them, making us more humble.  From all these negative experiences, we gain a capacity for understanding others, praying for them and treating them like Jesus Himself would treat them.   It is our duty to proclaim the Truth of Christ without fear and to help others resist all opposition.  This duty we can carry out by our faithfulness, prayers, example, words and cheerfulness.

We need to implore God to transform our souls, to transform our attitude as to what happiness and misfortune really are.  Pope John Paul II said that the persecutions for the faith endured in our time are often like those of the early church: that they merely assume different types of discrimination against believers and the Church community.  Today, unbeknownst to many, there are hundreds of thousands of witnesses to the Faith.  While unknown or perhaps forgotten by others, God knows them as they daily undergo diverse privations in diverse regions of the globe.

God ask of everyone a heroic steadfastness in proclaiming the Truth through our lives and words . . . even in environments which may be difficult and hostile to the teachings of Christ. He asks us to live fully the Christian virtues in the middle of the world in whatever circumstances life has placed us . . . to sanctify ourselves through living fidelity in the duties and circumstance of each day.  God wants us to bear difficulties peacefully and firmly place our trust in Him.

The virtue of fortitude is a daily Christian need in our times and world.  God’s aid is essential.  In simple terms, the virtue of fortitude is manifested by doing good faithfully despite all obstacles and resisting evils in such a way as not to become despondent.  We must overcome our moods, not complaining uselessly, but persevering in our duties and being cheerful when we are tired.  Simply, we must face the unpleasant or painful, accept those things that go against our plans and be vigilant not to invent problems or give too much importance to the everyday challenges that do arise.

It is the virtue of fortitude that enables us to be patient when unpleasant things happen or when we receive bad news.  It gives us peace in difficulties, helps us accept reality without complaining and invites us to accept difficulties in union with the Crucified.  It takes fortitude to accept disappointment, misfortune and even disaster with the steadfast love of God.

From Christ and seeing him clearly that gives us fortitude.  We must look upon his face, engage Him habitually in prayer and in the sacraments, so we can truly live the Christian life of loving, imitating and serving Him.  Christ walked where we walk, understands our humanity and holds out a nail-scarred Hand to encourage and supports us.

While the early Christians rejected customs and behaviors that were incompatible with the Faith they had received, they never felt out of place in the society to which they belonged.  It should be the same with us today.  We must accept the world where God has placed us and live in a way that people see the greatness and the wonder of following Jesus. In spite of all our defects we are God’s instruments, His hands, His voice to those we live and work amongst.  A Portuguese proverb speaks poignantly of this truth:  “ God writes straight with crooked lines.”

It is not, and never has been, an easy task to follow Christ.  Imitating Christ is serious work.  We need to be strong in order to persevere.  We need fortitude to be faithful in all things and not to stray.  The imitation of Christ is serious business.  As you meditate on the Gospel daily, Jesus passes by, stops and visits with us like He did with the disciples on the way to Emmaus.  Let us listen to Him, see Him and invite him to stay with us.

“The strong man will at times suffer, but he stands firm”

In 01 Daily Meditations on 2011/06/03 at 7:56 AM

The facade appears full of strength and resilience. But how much softness and lack of willpower there is within! You must hold to your determination not to let your virtues become fancy dress but clothes which define your character. (Furrow, 777)

No man, whether he be a Christian or not, has an easy life. To be sure, at certain times it seems as though everything goes as we had planned. But this generally lasts for only a short time. Life is a matter of facing up to difficulties and of experiencing in our hearts both joy and sorrow. It is in this forge that man can acquire fortitude, patience, magnanimity and composure.

The person with fortitude is one who perseveres in doing what his conscience tells him he ought to do. He does not measure the value of a task exclusively by the benefit he receives from it, but rather by the service he renders to others. The strong man will at times suffer, but he stands firm; he may be driven to tears, but he will brush them aside. When difficulties come thick and fast, he does not bend before them. (Friends of God, 77)


Problems and Difficulties

In 07 Observations on 2011/05/11 at 11:38 AM

“In our own lives, perhaps there will be no shortage of tempests and threatening skies, of interior darkness, of misunderstandings – and, with more or less regular frequency, situations in which we should correct our course because we have gone astray.  Then we should strive to see Our Lord, who always comes in the storm of suffering.  Let us learn to accept the setbacks with faith, as blessing from heaven to purify us and draw us closer to God.  He said: ‘It is I; do not be afraid.”

Fernandez, Francis IN CONVERSATION WITH GOD, Vol.II: 60.3