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  • Sarah Raad

Comfort

“The ways of the Lord are not comfortable, but we were not created for comfort, but for greatness.” (Pope Emeritus Benedict XVI).

Woe Unto Ye Scribes and Pharisees Hypocrites (Richard W Linford)

Some years ago, during her last few days of earthly life, my mother’s sister, told my mother that she was not ready to die because she had not finished her bookkeeping for the small business she ran. And yet, God decided that my beautiful aunty was not going to finish that duty, and she died soon afterwards, having never finished her accounts… You see, God called her to follow Him into eternal life instead…


Pope Emeritus Benedict XVI suffered a serious stroke in September of 1991, while he was still known as Cardinal Ratzinger. When that happened, his eyesight was significantly affected and he was fitted with a pacemaker. When Pope Emeritus Benedict XVI turned 70 he began to ask Pope Ainst John Paul II for permission to retire. However, the Saint refused these requests and asked Cardinal Ratzinger to carry on working. After the death of Pope Saint John Paul II, Joseph Ratzinger – who was at this time 78 years old, vision impaired with a pacemaker, having suffered a stroke years earlier – was elected Pope…

I was reading a comment that the Pope Emeritus made when he realised that his election was imminent… He said, “I started to feel quite dizzy. I thought that I had done my life’s work and could now hope to live out my days in peace. I told the Lord with deep conviction, ‘Don’t do this to me. You have younger and better candidates who could take up this great task with a totally different energy and strength.’ Evidently, this time He didn’t listen to me... The ways of the Lord are not comfortable, but we were not created for comfort, but for greatness.”

And I have been thinking about this perspective of comfort that the Pope Emeritus communicated… You see – even in his discomfort – that man realised that God had different plans for him than the plans that he had for himself, just as was the case with my aunt. And I have been reflecting on that discomfort in God’s plans…


For Christ never promised comfort in our decisions to follow Him. Instead, when he was told that He would be followed, His reply was NOT comfortable…


“A scribe said to Jesus, ‘Teacher, I will follow you wherever you go.’ And Jesus said to him, ‘Foxes have holes, and birds of the air have nests; but the Son of man has nowhere to lay his head.’ Another of the disciples said to Him, ‘Lord, let me first go and bury my father.’ But Jesus said to him, ‘Follow Me, and leave the dead to bury their own dead.’” (Matthew 8:18-22).


That is a strong comment – “‘Follow Me, and leave the dead to bury their own dead.’” (Matthew 8:22). God does not call us to follow Him later, or when we are ready, or when we have finished everything that we planned to finish. He calls us to follow Him NOW. TODAY. THIS INSTANT. And He warns us that we will not be comfortable in following Him…


And I think of that today, when I reflect on my own life, because – though I am showered with blessings – I am uncomfortable too… And that causes me to have great joy. For I know that is a sign that I follow the Risen Lord…


And I thank God for that sign – for there is great hope in a sign such as that! Because as Pope Emeritus said, “The ways of the Lord are not comfortable, but we were not created for comfort, but for greatness.”


For with prayer, I stand on Holy Ground where everything is clear. Here. At the Foot of the Cross.

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