Grace is ultimately a gift from God, and God being all good, would only give good things. And if it is a gift from God, then we need to receive it with an open heart. But let’s be honest with ourselves, who really thinks suffering is a gift and who wants to receive trials and tribulations with an open heart? But, as the Lord urges us, we must continually take up our crosses and follow Him. These trials and tribulations that we are to receive are the crosses that we are to bear in order for us to be conformed into His image and likeness. It is like a sculptor who is creating a statue – there must be a chiseling process in order to form the stone into an image. God is the divine sculptor who is chiseling away at us and forming us into the image of His Son, Jesus Christ. This is the good that results from the suffering from our trials and tribulations.
In the Liturgy of the Hours, at Morning Prayer, a reading from the book of Judith comes up, and it highlights the fact that those who are close to God are chastised and suffer the most:
We should be grateful to the Lord our God, for putting us to the test, as he did our forefathers. Recall how he dealt with Abraham, and how he tried Isaac and all that happened to Jacob in Syrian Mesopotamia while he was tending the flocks of Laban, his mother’s brother. Not for vengeance did the Lord put them in the crucible to try their hearts, nor has he done so with us. It is by way of admonition that he chastises those who are close to him. (Judith 8:25-27)
St. Catherine of Sienna once said, “If this is how you treat your friends, no wonder why you have so few of them.” We must always have this greater picture in mind when we undergo trials and tribulations – that the closer we get to the Sacred Heart of Jesus, the more we will feel the suffering that He went through on the cross when He was pierced with a lance. That is why we should always have recourse to Mary during these times of trial and tribulation. In her Fiat, her Yes to God, she accepted the fact that her heart too would be pierced by a lance. She is our Mother and a mother always comes to the aid of her suffering children.
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