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  • Sarah Raad

Refusals

“Someday we will thank God not only for what He gave us, but also for that which He refused…”(Venerable Fulton Sheen)… Because it is in God’s refusals that we are saved…

Christ (lya Glazunov)

At times it could appear overwhelming to be thinking of all that people suffer in this world, especially when I feel called to pray for them…


It could feel overwhelming… But it really is not.


You see, nobody is called to suffer alone. While the fall of humankind – through Original Sin (the sin of pride and disobedience committed in the Garden of Eden) – means that I have been given the GIFT of suffering to ensure that I am able to atone for sin and in this way prepare myself for eternity, God does not expect me to suffer alone…


And this is – in fact – the whole point of suffering because when Christ – God the Son – offered Himself as a sacrifice to atone for my sins – and yours – He did so with the intention of coming to us! He knew that we would suffer – He saw all of our sorrows at the moment of the fall because He – in His perfection – being outside of time and space, knew the consequence of sin… And yet – even knowing how much we would suffer and how deserving our state would be – STILL He comes to us.


You see, Christ died on the Cross bearing ALL our sin and ALL our suffering because Christ is not just a God of words – He is a God of action too…

And that means that when we hear the words “Do not be afraid” (Deuteronomy 31:6), we can actually take courage – because we are not alone. Every suffering that we suffer – God suffered first… Every pain that we experience – God experienced first. And every heart break that we live – God lived first…

The only difference between us and God is that because God is PERFECT, SINLESS and INFINITE, He is UNDESERVING of all these things, while we – in our imperfect, sinful and miserable state – deserve much more than God has ever allowed us to endure…


And in understanding this, I can also understand the words of Venerable Fulton Sheen, who said, “Someday we will thank God not only for what He gave us, but also for that which He refused…” Because it is in God’s refusals that we are saved…


Scott Hahn in his book, “Lord Have Mercy” explained this concept more beautifully than I ever could…


“When we face a choice between suffering and sin, we are facing a trial, a test, an ordeal, just as Adam did, just as the Israelites did, just as the Jews did in Babylon. If we choose momentary comfort, security and safety over eternal salvation, God will respect our choice. If we choose momentary suffering for the sake of eternal love, we will draw nearer to the happiness of the homeland, to heaven. We will draw nearer to God within the bosom of God Himself.”


In her Diary entry 578, Saint Faustina wrote, “On one occasion, Jesus told me, concerning a certain priest (probably Father Sopocko), that these present years would be the adornment of his priestly life. The days of suffering always seem longer, but they too will pass, though they pass so slowly that it seems they are moving backwards. However, their end is near, and then will come endless and inconceivable joy. Eternity! Who can understand this one word which comes from You, O incomprehensible God, this one word: eternity!” (Diary 578).


And in understanding this, I can understand that though the periods of suffering in my life – and yours – may appear terribly terribly long, we are not alone anyway – Christ bears our pain inside every Mass that sacrifices eternally every instant on that Cross.


And anyway… the end is near – and there is such JOY to be had in eternity! Such wonderful JOY!


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

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