Tuesday, January 25, 2011

Seemingly Endless Snow ---and Spiritual Opportunities

Drift and winds make for high mounds of trouble. After weeks of it in great intensity, it begins to grate on the nerves. First we are downcast maybe. 'Enough already!," we want to scream. Maybe our strength does not seem up to it anymore. I think of the elderly. But then the saints say we can remember: Tribulation yields grace to open hearts, a true and beautiful mystery which shows that no trouble or vexation is meaningless, if we accept the transforming gift hidden in such things, great or small. St. Theresa's 'Little Way' of spirituality [a spirituality we laypersons can understand and internalize] comforts in tribulation and so many inconveniences that annoy, like when the snow and winds do not seem to want to let up for us here in New England; or, incomparably worse, when droughts and famines, wars or pestilence hit hard upon the lands anywhere. "His strength is made perfect in our weakness. Thus his grace is manifested and magnified"---2 Corinthians 12:9; and see Colossians 1:24...

I remind myself: Any problem can be made into prayer. St. Paul wasted nothing and made his life ("all things") into a "libation being poured out..." (2 Tim 4:6). And Paul, to be sure, had his share of life's troubles to try him on the Way to "finishing the race," far more than mere weeks of bad weather:

He abandoned himself to the will of God which gave everything meaning: "I have been in danger from rivers, in danger from bandits, in danger from my fellow Jews, in danger from Gentiles; in danger in the city, in danger in the country, in danger at sea; and in danger from false believers. I have labored and toiled and have often gone without sleep; I have known hunger and thirst and have often gone without food; I have been cold and naked. Besides everything else, I face daily the pressure of my concern for all the churches. Who is weak, and I do not feel weak?...If I must boast, I will boast of the things that show my weakness. ---2 Cor 11:24-30
So, one heavy shovel lifted for the Church, another as penance for our sins, this one for so-and-so who is sick, this one for the suffering people in Haiti, this one for our friends, this one for our 'enemies,' this one for the souls who have passed from this life, this one for so-and-so who is afraid, or angry, or lonely and depressed, or fallen...Anything, made a prayer. That is some gift which transforms hard things into gifts -- of heavenly gold.

Anything, even small things

"Love proves itself by deeds, so how am I to show my love? Great deeds are forbidden me. The only way I can prove my love is by scattering flowers and these flowers are every little sacrifice, every glance and word, and the doing of the least actions for love..."---St. Therese of Lisieux

"Every little sacrifice". "And we know that in all things God works for the good of those who love him, who have been called according to his purpose"---Rom 8:28

"But we glory also in tribulations, knowing that tribulation worketh patience; And patience trial; and trial hope; And hope confoundeth not: because the charity of God is poured forth in our hearts, by the Holy Ghost, who is given to us."---Rom 5: 3-5

"We can allow life's pain and suffering to grind us down and diminish us, or we can refuse to let it crush our spirit. When we, like St. Paul of the Cross, learn to accept and unite our suffering with Christ on the Cross, our suffering can take on a new purpose and a new meaning. Suffering can even be a blessing or a valuable learning experience for us, when we look for the "yes" contained in the "no." Suffering even can be redemptive when we accept and unite our pain to the Passion of Jesus.... (Jeanette Martino Land on St. Paul of the Cross)

With eyes to see: "In all this you greatly rejoice, though now for a little while you may have had to suffer grief in all kinds of trials. These have come so that the proven genuineness of your faith—-of greater worth than gold, which perishes even though refined by fire—-may result in praise, glory and honor when Jesus Christ is revealed"---1 Pet 1:6-7

"But rejoice inasmuch as you participate in the sufferings of Christ, so that you may be overjoyed when his glory is revealed"---1 Pet 4: 13 ---[Updated 1x]

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