I feel like I should post this reflection- does it help anyone?


#1

Jesus calms the storm in today’s Gospel. A passage that we are all familiar with since childhood; this is one of those stories that is told over and over again and stands out among many others. It resonates with us during times of suffering and I think that it hits home with us especially during these times of economic hardship and financial distress. Many of us feel the same way that the Apostles did and want to shout to God the way they do in the passage, “Teacher, don’t you care that we are perishing?”
Of course Christ cares! That is the reason for this story. The problem is that it is often difficult to see beyond our own suffering. In the First Reading, Job had been crying out to God for help and an answer to his own suffering, just as the Apostles did. It is in the storm itself that Job gets his answer. God does not explain himself to Job. God does not apologize for the sufferings that Job endured. Up until this point, it seems to Job that God is asleep, the same way that Christ was sleeping in the boat with the Apostles. Then the answer comes.
Two different things happen in each of the readings, but both contain the same answer. God’s presence is the answer to the problem of suffering. God asks Job where he was during the creation of the earth, where he was when the seas were formed and if they would obey him. Christ asks his Apostles where their faith is. God is present, why do they fear? At any point, God can command the sea and the wind to subside. At any point, God can alleviate Job’s suffering. Why doesn’t He? Because God is found in a unique way in suffering.
St. Francis of Assisi says that perfect joy is found only in the Cross. Only through participating in the Cross can we experience the Resurrection. For Francis, the Cross is where we find Christ, and therefore perfect joy is found in suffering well for the love of God. This is not something people want to hear, including myself. We tend to run from suffering, but Francis embraced it so that he may unite himself to God. He does this by first finding God in suffering, and then by loving God and others as best he could while suffering. In this way he more perfectly imitates Christ Crucified. St. Paul writes about this in today’s Epistle. He says that in dying and rising with Christ in baptism, we become new creatures capable of knowing God in a new way. That new way is the gift of faith. It is in trusting God during times of suffering that we come closer to Him. As the Scriptures say, “The Lord is near to the broken hearted”. There is a mystery of suffering that unites us to Christ in a special way.
God is present to us in our sufferings and is there with us through our storms. When the waves climb high and we feel like we are about to drown, we call out to Him, we wake Him. Many of us have had the experience of saying to God like the Apostles did, “Don’t you care that we are perishing?” Christ has answered many of us with those same words from Scripture, “Peace, be still. Where is your faith?” Jesus does care. When we let the storms in our lives overwhelm us, it is a temptation to despair of the goodness of God. That is what both Job and the Apostles were tempted with: despairing of God’s loving goodness. It’s a battle we all have to face at some point or another in our lives. In both readings we find the answer to these trials. Job and the Apostles each answer this temptation with prayer. It is in prayer that God’s presence within us whispers to our hearts, “Peace, be still.” God is present to us when we suffer and he is waiting for us to place our trust in Him. Only then can he speak the words into our souls that give us the peace and strength to continue.
St. Therese of the Child Jesus had an interesting view of this Gospel reading. In her autobiography, The Story of a Soul, St. Therese says that often times she feels that Jesus is asleep in her boat. During her dark night of the soul she was bombarded with temptations and torments, chiefly of the temptation toward atheism. She felt that God had abandoned her- left her for dead. Not long into it, she realized that God did not abandon her. Rather, Jesus was simply asleep in her little boat during this dark storm. She figures that Jesus must be very tired to be asleep in such a violent storm and so she had better not wake Him so that He can be rested. St. Therese decides to weather the wind and the rain so that Christ may get the sleep He needs. She’ll have faith and take care of what she can until her Lord wakes up. She suffers willingly for the love of God. This is how she gathers her flowers that she is so famous for. Do we ever think of Christ in terms of this? How often are we looking for God to do something for us, rather than us looking for something to do for God? How often do we gather the little flowers of good works, even in suffering, to give to our Lord?
So, here we are in our boats. Christ is asleep on a cushion in the stern. The rain has begun to fall. The sky is black and lightning flashes across the horizon. The wind is beginning to blow. The waves are tossing us back and forth. What do we do? Pray. Christ is here with us. God is present in the storm. Have faith and pray, trusting in the goodness of God. Pick a few flowers for our Lord.

From Glen


#2

Thank you for posting that. I enjoyed reading it and am still thinking on those thoughts.


#3

:thumbsup: great post.

two weeks ago I met some of the Sisters of Life, and one of them told me, - God is always there with us in our sufferings…but are we willing to do the same? Are we ready to console HIm too?

sharing in Christ’s suffering is a great gift… though of course often we don’t look at it that way. We tend to forget, when the suffering actually comes. I think the more difficult it is…the more it is a part of the Cross. Ultimately, - and this makes no sense to the world, but - God allows us to suffer because He loves us. Many Saints went through horrible trials… through it, we learn obedience…and die to self.


#4

It didn’t help me.


#5

God had a choice… to either take away our suffering altogether, or to share in it and THEN take it away (as He will do). He shared in it out of love for us, and when He uses it to sanctify us, He takes something that’s evil in itself (the pain) and turns it to good. That’s one more way the devil is defeated. Also, God knows what slaves we are to sin…but when we choose to follow Him even in suffering, our love grows so much that the darkness in us is decreased.

We only learn how to love when it’s difficult to love.
We only learn to have faith when its difficult to have faith.


#6

For such a forgiving God, he can be a real cheapskate on the backend.


#7

He wants us to get rid of sin because it harms us. It’s not how He made us… original sin wasn’t part of His creation. It came through rebellion.


#8

“Oh happy sin of Adam…”

It seems like something was expected/intended. And yet we suffer so that he can suffer so that we can suffer like him. Seems like we always get the short end of the stick.


#9

The “backend” is an eternity in heaven. Doesn’t sound lacking to me. “Obedience unto death”. Tim


#10

brother do you think that any of our sufferings are greater than His? Jesus took on the worst suffering of all so there’s no person who can say "God doesn’t understand."
His suffering was not only physical. He was being murdered by His own creation. It’s always painful to be hurt by someone you love, and the more you love them, the more it hurts. What about Jesus, whose love is infinite? He sweat blood, that’s how much pain it was. We can’t really imagine. And even His disciples had left Him… it was only Our Lady and St John who stayed behind. He felt abandoned by the Father, and they are ONE! Can we imagine the loneliness of that?

yes some people suffer A LOT on earth, but my point is God knows what it’s like, and He willingly accepted the worst pain of all.

and although we suffer…look at all the things we’re given to help us… God is with us, He hasn’t abandoned us even in our worst sufferings, even when we can’t feel Him there. We have someone to help us and give us grace so that this present suffering can sanctify us. We’re offered an eternity of unimaginable happiness…what are a few years of suffering then? how do you think we’ll look at our suffering in Heaven?
In addition, we are given the Sacraments, the Church, prayer, a whole army of Angels, lol, all the Saints in Heaven to pray for us, the Mother of God, our Guardian Angels, other Christians to encourage us…

no I’d say Jesus took the worst of it. He was alone, and He suffered the most. Even above the physical pain, was the ultimate rejection of the same people He came to save, for whom He humbled Himself so much that He became man.

If you’re struggling, meditate on the crucifixion… have you ever seen the movie “the Passion”? I know that you’re going through a hard time and I’m sorry…I really am. I’m trying to help, not debate or criticize you :slight_smile:

don’t run away from God. who else will ever TOTALLY love and understand us, if not Him?

God bless.


#11

And yet…and yet…

If we don’t suffer accordingly, if we don’t suffer fittingly, if we don’t suck it up and bear it like the God-Man then we get to suffer an eternity in Hell.

For someone who knows what it’s like, seems like he missed a real crucial part.


#12

do you realize that He helps us to suffer in the right way? that we are given grace to do that, so that it’s easier? He said, His burden is light… come to Me, all who are weary, and I will give you rest…

if we’re suffering but ask God for help, He will make the suffering more manageable… the problem is only when we don’t ask. But why not?

it also says in the Bible…we are not tried beyond what we can handle. We can handle anything together with God.


#13

Ah, but who says we can’t offer up past sufferings? Maybe we don’t understand the trial at the time, but grow in grace to be able to join it with Him on the cross. I lived like a pagan when I had cancer 6 years ago, but is it less valuable now once joined to the merits of Christ?


#14

The Bible also says that there will be wailing and gnashing of teeth for people invited to the wedding but haplessly left their tux at the dry cleaners.

For such a loving, merciful God, it sure does seem to be His way or the highway (to Hell).


#15

we CHOOSE hell.

Do you know that God grieves over every lost soul?

Doesn’t He run towards us when we repent and come back to Him…remember the prodigal son?

He created us for Himself. We didn’t create ourselves. He created us for Himself because He is the only one who could ever make us truly happy. He created us for love, and He IS love.

He created us for an eternity of happiness with Him. Is that not worth any suffering? Why reject an eternity of happiness, and choose an eternity of misery, because it’s too hard to bear misery on earth? isn’t it better to choose God and Heaven, so that the misery can end one day? Especially because He is offering us all these ways to help us…

the reason it’s “God’s way or the highway” is because He made us to be with Him. And all goodness, and all love, come from Him… that’s why hell is miserable, cause God is not there. And the door out of hell is closed from the inside, not the outside. The people there reject God, who is the author of all that is good, so they can’t get to goodness…it’s not there… they have rejected it. They are only filled with hatred.

and God still loves them and grieves for souls. That’s why Our Lady told us to do penance for sinners…cause God wants every sinner to be saved.


#16

I read this story once…

a nun who was very ill during her life and died from the sickness, appeared to one of the other nuns at the convent and said that she is now in Heaven, but if she could, she would go back just to gain the merit of one Hail Mary said properly, because that is how powerful it is. But consider what she said…that she would go back to all that horrible suffering she went through.

See once we’ll be in Heaven, we’ll see it from a different perspective…we’ll see it was all worth it.


#17

WOW! I didn’t intend to start an argument on the mystery of suffering. It’s a mystery, and the best that we can really do is trust that God knows what He is doing in our lives.


#18

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