18 April 2016

"O My Glory, either Increase My Pain or Cure It Altogether."

O God, Who to those that go astray dost show the light of Thy truth, that they may return to the path of justice: grant that all who are enrolled in the Christian faith may both spurn all that is hostile to that name and follow after what is fitting to it. Through our Lord Jesus Christ Thy Son, Who liveth and reigneth with Thee in the unity of the Holy Ghost, God, world without end. Amen.

 --Collect for the Third Sunday after Easter

As usual, the liturgy--ever ancient, ever new--  has timely advice for today's Catholic. In this time of great confusion, confusion engendered by sources that ought to produce clarity, our plea is the same as ever: "Grant that all who are enrolled in the Christian faith may both spurn all that is hostile to that name and follow after what is fitting to it." Indeed.

Divine Intimacy's entry for the day offers something of great consolation to me, and if you also have had your days of sadness in the face of the temporary triumph of modernism, it may be to you, too. Reflecting on the Epistle and Gospel for the day, speaking to us as God's pilgrims, the author states:

 "...earth is not our lasting dwelling, but the place of our pilgrimage. Jesus has said so: "A little while, and now you shall not see Me; and again a little while, and you shall see Me..." These words which were enigmatic for the Apostles, who did not understand them, are now clear to us: "a little while"-- that is our short lifetime, and very soon we too must leave the earth and follow Jesus to heaven where we shall see Him in His glory. Then, as our Lord said, "your heart shall rejoice; and your joy no man shall take from you." However, before reaching this happy state, we have to endure the difficulties, struggles, and sufferings of life on earth.... He warns us, therefore, so that we shall not be scandalized: "--You shall lament and weep, but the world shall rejoice..."

The Epistle (1 Pt. 2:11-19) likewise exhorts us to live on earth with our eyes turned toward heaven.... The life of a Christian is like that of a traveler in a foreign land, who never delays because he is anxious to get back to his own country. The Secret of the Mass very aptly puts on his lips the following prayer: "May these mysteries, O Lord, quench the ardor of our earthly desires, and teach us to love only the things of heaven!" We need this prayer very much... 

...Another characteristic of the pilgrim is that he is never satisfied until he reaches his native land; this unrest throws a veil of sadness over his life. Thus, the Christian, God's pilgrim, can never be wholly content until he reaches heaven and possesses God. Today, sighing, he runs toward Him; he quickens his step, sustained by the hope of meeting Him "face to face" some day. His hope, however is accompanied by a feeling of sadness, because he hopes for what he does not yet possess. His is the holy sadness of those who are seeking God. Let us thank God if He has made us experience this; it is a good sign; it is a sign that our heart has been captivated by His love, and that earthly things can no longer satisfy it. Once again the words of Jesus comfort us: "Your sadness shall be changed into joy."

"O Lord, my Creator, my anguish draws this complaint from me, making me speak of that for which there is no remedy until You provide one. My soul is in a narrow prison: it longs for liberty, yet would not move one slightest degree from Your will. O my Glory, either increase my pain or cure it altogether.

"...O my soul, submit to the will of your God; it is best for you. Serve Him and trust in His mercy; when by penance you have won some little claim to pardon for your sins, He will ease your pain. Do not try to rejoice until you have suffered. But, O my true King and Lord, I am incapable even of this, unless You sustain me by Your power and majesty. With Your help, I can do all things" (St. Teresa of Jesus, Exclamations of the Soul to God, 6).

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