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  • Sarah Raad

Eligibility

How loving is God to allow us to suffer now and not later!


John the Baptist and Jesus as children (Johann Friedrich Overbeck)

Today, as I was praying for your intentions and mine during Mass this morning, it suddenly occurred to me that this life of ours is full of contrasts.


Things often seem so strange that they defy logic, and yet – once we enter into Eternal Glory with God, we will be able to see things more clearly, and perhaps the paradoxes we have been presented with during our entire Earthly lives will actually be perfectly sensible to us.


After all, the curse of sin means that we are confounded by the lies of the Evil One for the duration of our Earthly lives – he is the worst of all liars.


There is a reason that Christ is called the way, the TRUTH and the life – because He entered into Time and Space to bring TRUTH to defeat the LIES. Christ – God Himself – came to defeat Evil – for Good to Triumph over Evil and Truth to triumph over Lies…


And yet, there are so many things that point to contrast in our world and the veil of sin so clouds our eyes that we often fail to recognise things for what they truly are!


We all of us suffer in this world. No soul ever made it from Earth to Heaven floating through life on a cloud – not even Christ Himself or His Blessed Mother.


Everyone who enters the Kingdom of God will first suffer – our sin merits suffering. We deserve it!


But here is the rub. This is where things get interesting to me. Because while it is granted that our sinful nature merits suffering, what is not granted is the duration…

The greatest lie that the Evil One feeds us is that our suffering is a punishment from God because we DESERVE it.

What a lie!


Did Christ – God Himself who was incarnate without sin – deserve to suffer?


Did Our Blessed Mother – conceived without sin – deserve to suffer?


Did Saint John the Baptist – born without sin – deserve to suffer?


No! They did NOT deserve to suffer! But THANK GOD that He allowed it anyway!


Why?


Because these few demonstrated the point of suffering. They showed us how to become ELIGIBLE for suffering.


The Evil One would have us believe that we suffer because God HATES us.


In fact, it was to correct THIS LIE that Christ – the WORD incarnate – was born, so that through Him we could see the TRUTH…


We suffer because God LOVES us!


Suffering is not a punishment for sin – it is a payment for salvation! It is not allowed by God because He hates us – it is allowed by God because He loves us so infinitely and so perfectly, that He allows us the opportunity for purification during this temporal and Earthly life.


In other words – God so loves us that He replaces the TRUE consequence of sin – ETERNAL SUFFERING – with a far far better outcome – TEMPORARY SUFFERING ON EARTH!


And to show us that we can endure it and triumph over this temporal suffering, He Himself – through the Second Person of the Most Holy Trinity, Christ – suffered too.


God suffered – as did His blessed Mother, and Saint John the Baptist, and all the saints in fact, to show us that though we are eligible to suffer eternally – for love of us – God allows us to suffer temporally instead!

If only I had realised that long ago! What great good I could have done with the suffering in my life!

Suffering is a mechanism of purification. We suffer to atone for our flawed and sinful human nature, and those who suffer most are most beloved of God – because it is through this suffering that we merit eternal salvation…


So, the next time something goes wrong in my life and I am suffering through it – perhaps, I will have the wisdom to look up at the WAY and the TRUTH and the LIFE rather than down at the LIES beneath my feet.


Perhaps then I have the wisdom to see that my suffering – whatever it is – is the greatest gift of my infinitely LOVING God.


Perhaps then I will be able to see suffering for what it truly is, in the way that Christ, His Blessed Mother, Saint John the Baptist and all the saints have demonstrated for us…


Perhaps I will have the wisdom to see that suffering as LOVE… Pure love…


And then, instead of crying tears of Misery, I will cry tears of Joy – for how wonderful it is to have a God who allows our suffering to end – even when we, through sin, are not eligible for that!


For with prayer everything is clear. Here. At the Foot of the Cross.

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