Friday, July 13, 2012

Encompassed by His Love

Sometimes in life we have to go through really hard times.  Sometimes it's consequences for sins committed (which can take years to play out) and sometimes it's for no apparent reason.  Often we may be tempted to whine and complain about it.  Other times we seem to be able to suck it up and bear it.  So what is God doing to us, visiting calamities on us and surrounding us with misery to the point we want to find a hole, crawl in, and pull the entrance in after us? 

In today's meditation by Father Gabriel of St. Mary Magdalene, O.C.D. in Divine Intimacy he writes:
 In all the circumstances of our life, even the saddest and mot painful, we are always encompassed by His love.  God's love can will nothing but good; even when He leads us by the harsh, rough road of suffering, He is infallibly willing our good.
God "makes us die and makes us live.... He scourges us and He saves us" (cf. 1 Sm. 2:6; Tb. 13:2), always because of His love.  Thus it is not rare that He strikes hardest those whom He loves most, for as the Holy Spirit says, "...acceptable men [are tried] in the furnace of humiliation" (Sir. 2:5).

St. Teresa of Jesus says: This suffering "is what the Father gave to Him whom He loved most of all [Jesus].... These, then are His gifts in the world.  He gives them in proportion to the love He bears us.  He gives more to those He loves most and less to those He loves least" (Way 32).
 In one of her books St. Teresa recounted a particularly grueling journey on which many things went wrong, the weather was terrible, etc.  She said something like, "Lord, if this is the way You treat Your friends, no wonder you have so few of them."

I liked this quote because it showed her humanness and sense of humor in the midst of adversity. Most of all, hard times are an invitation to trust in God and submit to His will, to take the cotton out of our ears and listen to Him.  He is in charge and He is polishing us up for heaven, even if we can't see the reasons why we are suffering.


  1. Great post Barbara. Somewhat in tune with mine which I posted earlier today on my Blog.

    Yes, God allows suffering to come our way. For His reasons. He does not delight in our suffering and it is not sent us by way of punishment for our sins.

    Suffering gives us an opportunity to trust Him and to seek His help. And an opportunity to help one another.

    God bless.

  2. Thanks Barbara. This is so meaningful in my life right now. It is what I needed to remind me that there is a bigger picture, that I am not suffering in vain, that something good is awaiting if I just trust in God. You and others are convincing me to dust off my copy of Divine Intimacy and make it part of my daily spiritual reading.

  3. "Invitation".. "opportunity"... "encompassed by His love...": Not phrases the "world" equates with hard times. Thank God for the eyes of faith. A holy man I knew used to say, when faced with trials (even a painful death): "what an opportunity!!!" Thanks for such a good reminder.

  4. Victor, Monica, Nancy, thanks for your comments. Divine Intimacy never stops inspiring me. I am grateful that it and the Bible help me make the most of suffering.

    Victor, I think suffering is sometimes a consequence of bad choices (sin) as well as God polishing us up for heaven. He is the diamond cutter par excellence.

    Nancy, I love what the holy man said - what an opportunity! Where would we be without the eyes of Faith? In misery, I'm sure.

  5. This is beautiful beyond words. Thank you.