Last night I was talking to my dear aunt on the phone and, after telling me that she’s been saying one rosary after another for a special intention, she told me that she thought “Blessed Mother had her earplugs in.” Since my aunt’s in a very sad situation and has been praying for over a year to be relieved of it, I can completely understand her interpretation of God’s apparent lack of intervention through Mary’s intercession!
But, on further reflection, it makes sense to me that, during this Year of Faith, God has to give us greater challenges to help us grow in faith, which is what this Year of Faith is all about. We learn to walk by walking, we learn to talk by talking, we learn to trust by trusting.
Jesus is saying, “It is faith I need in you disciples and in each of us. Not faith in things going right. Not faith in things going wonderfully. Faith in Me. In a mysterious way that will not even know what is happening while it’s happening. I will save you. I will put you in my ark, which is the Church. I will give you safety. I will take you home. Look for the long road.”
That’s what each of us is asked to do by our Lord. We have to look for the long haul and realize that the truly wonderful things are often hidden.
The truly extraordinary works of God are often so ordinary. We have to look beyond the ordinary of the daily life of carrying our humanity around and live with our poverty and our weaknesses.
We should not be humiliated by ourselves and our circumstances and our lives. We should not look to the rich, powerful and beautiful people saying, “Oh, if only I could live as they.” Oftentimes, their cross is far heavier because they’re living in a great deal of denial or temptations. Whereas we, who have a great deal of crosses and challenges, live in great ordinariness and are being asked by God to see him here.
These challenges are not arbitrary. They are for our salvation. They are to unite us to Jesus who did it first. And they are for the good of the Church, to fill up what is lacking in the sufferings of Christ for the Church. So nothing is lost!
There are many who are suffering, and have suffered for a long time, with cancer and other debilitating diseases. With abandonment by friends or family. Not to mention all the other challenges of daily life and making a living and dealing with our own weaknesses. We suffer because we are Christ’s Body on earth and he suffered. We’re a suffering body and we can be grateful to God that he has come into our sufferings and elevated them to be generators of grace.
God is our plastic surgeon making whatever is deformed in us beautiful but we can only see that through the eyes of faith. That’s the only way we can truly see. St Teresa of Avila said, “If we could see with the eyes of faith the glory of God in a soul, we would fall down thinking we were seeing God at least a great and powerful angel.”
All that glory is hidden in our poor humanity. We need to live in the sense of that sacramental way of seeing. To see through the appearances, just as we see through the appearance of the sacramental bread and wine to behold the Body and Blood of Jesus.
We never stop at appearances. We move through what we see to the reality of ourselves, of each other, of the Lord. Of the Lord in the ordinary. That’s how we grow in our faith in this Year of Faith!
Copyright © 2012, Glenna Bradshaw