Monday, June 20, 2011

The Good Have Many Troubles

I awoke again this morning with a seizure. I’ve come to take these rare events, of late, as a message from God. Wide awake, I prayed to Him to end the trial, and show me His will.

I went to church early, and the chapel was open. Perhaps the priest also could not sleep. Perhaps he too was troubled, and was seeking God’s will.

I realized that I know many people with troubles. The child with autism, the spouse they fear, the unending financial trials, the father they never had, divorce, loneliness, substance abuse and depression. And these things I see in just the few people I know. How many worries there are in this world, even for good people like these --- and that is a good point to note: that these are good people. In their trials, in their woes, they so often forget this. But God never does.

I think it was Mother Teresa who said: “If this is how God treats His friends, no wonder He has so few of them.”

We know that every life will have trials, but that knowledge offers little comfort when we are having ours, and especially when we look at our efforts to do good, and yet see the bad that befalls us, and when it seems like evil is so often the winner in this world. We wonder why we should even try. And our mind wanders, sometimes looking for blame. Sometimes we find it hard to accept that the fact that the blame really is ours for our trials – look at John Edwards or other politicians. Sometimes we don’t think it proper to blame others --- look at (Fr.) John Corapi. But somehow we think it right, in our heart, to blame God (even if we don’t say this aloud). “If you love me, God, how could You let this happen?” It doesn’t seem fair. We wish our problems would go away, for we find neither a solution nor a reason for them.

We forget that: He chastises those who are close to Him. (Judith 8:27)

I began my morning prayers in the chapel, and one of the first things I read was Psalm 73. It was headed with the words: “Why is it that the good have many troubles?” And these words from Psalm 73 were underlined in my book:

My steps had almost slipped
for I was filled with envy of the proud
when I saw how the wicked prosper.
For them there are no pains;
their bodies are sound and sleek.
They have no share in men’s sorrows;
they are not stricken like others.

They scoff; they speak with malice;
from on high they plan oppression.
So the people turn to follow them
and drink in all their words.
Look at them, such are the wicked,
but untroubled, they grow in wealth.

I strove to fathom this problem,
too hard for my mind to understand,
until I pierced the mysteries of God
and understood what becomes of the wicked.
How slippery the paths on which you set them.

I was stupid and did not understand.
I was always in your presence;
you were holding me by my right hand.

You will guide me by your counsel.
To be near God is my happiness.

Every day has its troubles, for the good and bad alike, and not just me. Yesterday, Father’s Day, I had many thoughts I wished to write down here, of my dad, of events of my life, and of events of the world and the Church; so much was happening, so much to think and pray on. I titled my draft “Today”, remembering that all my worries of the past and future are a futile waste of time. Today is the day in which we live and act, and can make a difference --- if we can get past concerns about our own problems.

But mom required much attention yesterday, and my plans for the "today" of yesterday were overridden by more her important events. God helped show me that what I thought important at the time, wasn’t. There is one thing from yesterday, however, that I wish to leave with you, even today. They are the words written by a daughter remembering her father, and remembering him in a way in which all fathers would be proud. Please take the time to read this. If you know of any young fathers or fathers-to-be, it would be a great gift to give them, this example of how they could and SHOULD impact the life of their child. The words tell better than I ever could how a child might grow in love and in confidence in both her earthly father, and her heavenly one. And how a child can be taught to accept and bear, gladly, all those troubles which may come her way. It is an important lesson, for us all.

Happy (belated) Father’s Day.

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