GUEST BLOGGER TODAY! THANK YOU CK FOR GIVING ME A DAY OFF OF BLOGGING DURING THESE BUSY DAYS. IT IS A GREAT CHRISTMAS PRESENT.
I’ll never understand those types of people who want supernatural signs from God. I’m with the Blessed Mother on this one: if you see and angel, the proper reaction is fear! What could a supernatural experience from God mean except that He’s got important work for you to do and it’s going to cost you.
Grace can’t be bought, but it appears that it still needs to be paid for. When you look at the lives of St. Bernadette, St. Pio, St. Faustina, or the children of Fatima you see how much their special graces cost them. Every one of them knew poverty, abuse, rejection, illness, and darkness of soul. And that is in addition to the prayer, penance, and work that they voluntarily took on.
Everyone has those long stretches of suffering in life: a family member is sick or self-destructive, we are spiritually desolate, we are rejected by our peers, a big sin won’t stop tempting us, or we are physically or mentally ill. It is only when I have emerged from the end of such tunnels that I realized how much grace was bought with these sufferings.
In hindsight I can see the precious fruits of such pain. Rejection gives us humility to use our gifts to console others who suffer rather than to puff up our own egos. Our traumas toughen our spiritual muscles to help lift the heavy crosses of others that would make the less initiated turn away in fear. When we experience pain or ignorance firsthand, God tattoos His lessons on our hearts in a way that no amount of study could teach us. God has personally taught me spiritual empathy, the meaning of sin, and the power of the rosary, but only at the end of many years of pulling my hair out and crying, “Why me?!”
I remember someone speculating that the reason Jesus emitted a groan when He healed someone was because he was engaging in some redemptive suffering right on the spot. If someone comes to me with a terrible problem and I do what I can to comfort the person, I am shocked at the number of times that the person says, “Wow, I feel so much better!”, but I end up depressed for a couple days. It’s like that grace is being paid for.
I always try to remember that God is not a divine vending machine. If I have an intention, I try to remember that I have to put my heart into that request. I have to invest the prayer and sacrifice, or even have to bear whatever involuntary sufferings he has in store for me. My personally experience has always been that God surpasses all expectations in generosity.