This is for you who are going through times of great darkness and/or suffering:
“Hope and trust grow and increase only by trial, suffering, danger, sorrow, and even if it comes, horror. For this reason, darkness is an essential part of the spiritual journey–darkness of many kinds.”
“Some have called this trust the greatest act of worship we can perform, because it unites us in a more realistic way with the mystery of Christ.” (Fr. Benedict Groeschel)
I thank all of you, on behalf of the Church, all of you who are offering the trials, dangers, even horrors to God as an act of worship. May God sustain you and give you hope.
I have been thinking a bit these past couple of weeks about a number of things. First: about living selflessly, living for others, living for the Other, Christ, who lived His entire life only for others, and praying for that grace to be released more and more in my own life. Along with that, I have been pondering the lives of those who, like all those mentioned in Hebrews, did not obtain in this life what was promised. (Cf. Heb 11) The priest who said Mass for us this past Saturday–whose homily I hope to soon post–spoke about the European cathedral dwellers who labored on churches whose completion they would never see, cathedrals which would not be finished for hundreds of years. Their lives were certainly lived in hope, in living for others–the others who would contemplate and be moved by the beauty of the buildings they themselves would never see.
There come times in all our lives where we can’t even see the beginnings of the building, but only see its ruins. What then? My friend, Debbie Herbeck, has just written a book called Safely Through the Storm (Servant) in which she collected 120 quotes on hope. Being a quote “collector” myself, I did not hesitate to get a copy. The following quote from Fr. Benedict Groeschel (#8 in her book) brings together, I think, all my little threads of reflection:
When things fall apart and all seems to be ruined and when the terrible question “What do you do when nothing makes sense?” comes right home, the answer is that it is the time to believe. It is the time for faith . . . . One must grab onto God . . . . One must be able to say, “I believe that God’s goodness is going to bring about some greater good by this horror. It may not be a great good for me in this world, but it will be a great good someplace, somewhere, perhaps for those I love in the next world.” (Arise from Darkness, When Life Doesn’t Make Sense, p. 132)