Every day, we need to go to our quiet place...

Today's Scriptural Meditation Readings:

February 5, A.D. 2003

Hebrews 12:4-7,11-15
Psalm 103:1-2,13-14,17-18
Mark 6:1-6


A brief reflection on today's Scripture passages:

"Endure your trials as discipline. . ."

We have grown soft through easy living. As one of the characters in Rohinton Mistry's very fine novel says, "People in western countries are so rich they are afraid of the silliest things." (He's referring to the fear of balding when most of the characters in the book face the very real possibility of starvation.) So the idea of discipline is not appealing to us. Often we use the word as a near synonym for punishment. We discipline our children when they go astray.

But discipline is also practice. And the trials of life do give us practice in focusing on what life really is about -- perfecting our relationship with the Lord. Trials are of two sorts -- those we make for ourselves, and those that come upon us as a result of living. The latter consist of things like the death of a loved one or a sickness that is unpreventable. From these we can learn patience and fortitude. We can learn to offer that suffering for the good of a loved one. Too often we run for the cupboard at the possibility of a headache or a stomach ache, little thinking that this small hardship might be turned to spiritual service. There's no harm in relieving the pain, on the other hand, much good could stem from enduring a little pain for the sake of love. These trials also prepare us to help others. It is difficult to know what to say or do when someone near us has lost a loved one until the same happens to us, then suddenly a new chapter has opened and we begin to understand the needs of others.

The second sort of trial also prepares us to help others, but it increases in us understanding, sympathy, and willingness to help. It also helps us to lend a more permanent kind of help by guiding the person away from choices that will ultimately destroy.

Trials are God's discipline -- His gifts to us to help us practice our faith, hope, and love. By exercising them, we strengthen them. We need to remember that it is impossible to be a disciple if we do not have discipline. So, we take the gifts the Lord gives in a day and thank Him even for the seeming trials, because from these will come such fruit that you cannot even imagine. The souls that will be saved by our patient, loving endurance, we cannot know -- but they will be many.

JuandelaCruz, T.O.Carm (sriddle415@yahoo.com)

http://www.christdesert.org/public_texts/martyrology/

St. Agatha, virgin, martyr

Full Scripture text from today's Liturgy of the Word:
www.nccbuscc.org/nab/index.htm

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