Today’s Gospel: Luke 2:22-40
My husband and I get a lot of comments when we take our six children to church. Everything from “What a beautiful family!” to “Your misbehaving child absolutely ruined the Mass for me.” But no one ever looked at my child with the burning gaze of prophecy and foretold a future time when a sword would pierce my soul.
Imagine how Mary and Joseph felt when they heard these words at the temple from the prophet Simeon. From the Angel Gabriel, they learned of their child’s greatness. From Simeon, they learned that the cost of great glory is great suffering.
The older I get, the more suffering I see. One grandmother of nearly 30 children told me to expect a major crisis in the family every 5 years. Faced with the foreknowledge of suffering, we can rail against God and retreat into ourselves like snails hiding inside their shells. Or we can praise God for the joys He sends us in the here and now while trusting that future suffering will pierce our souls but not destroy them.
“All suffering, all failure, all humiliation is fruitful,” a priest told me. “Don’t we have to bear it well?” I asked, thinking of Jesus, Mary, and Joseph and their powerful ability to embrace suffering. “No,” he grinned, “Our Lord takes what he can get.” He advised me to stay in a state of grace, and to fight discouragement, because discouragement is death to the interior life.
We are blessed if we have the Holy Family’s strength to bear suffering well. If we don’t have that strength, the Lord will accept whatever we can give him. It will be enough.
Do I fall into the trap of discouragement and despair, or do I struggle against sadness, knowing that God will turn my suffering to glory?
God, let me be grateful for the joys of today. Don’t let worries about the future overshadow me.
Copyright 2017 Karee Santos
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