Skip to main content

Trials: Friend or Foe Pt. II

In my previous post,  Trials: Friend or Foe Pt. I I spoke about the unique difficulties of my internship. 
About three weeks ago I met with a priest friend of mine for dinner.  I was not in a good place to say the least.  I was super stressed, angry, and bitter.  My life for the previous three weeks was nothing but a series of unexplainable bad events.  While we were eating he told me about a great a struggle that he had to endure.  He simply said that he had two choices during his trial to either surrender and believe in God or to become an atheist.  I was struck by these words, but as I thought more about them I realized that they related to my situation also.

Similarly I am faced with the same critical decision.  I could either choose to leave God or to surrender myself  completely to his will.  None of these options appealed to me.  Of course I did not want to become an Atheist, but at the same time I found the notion of surrendering repulsive.  It goes against my DNA.  I am a fighter by nature.  Fighters don't surrender; fighters keep on fighting until they are victorious.  But at the same time if I fought for the wrong reasons I could end up harming myself.  I had to choose God, the stakes were too high; if not for myself then for my wife.

Father also spoke about the dark night of the senses which comes from St. John of the Cross' spiritual masterpiece, Dark Night of The Soul.   He explained that during this time everything that a person senses or perceives to be right is not right at all.  Once this happens one begins to doubt everything about one's self.  It is like God has turned the core ability of self relection on its head.  In many ways I related to this because at my internship site I was being challenged in the areas that were perceived as my strengths. It just made no sense at all; it seemed counterintuitive. On the one hand I knew that I possessed these strengths while on the other hand I realized that my perception of my strenghts was way off. Which one was right?  If I believed St. John of the Cross' teachings then the latter would be correct.  Ultimately my self perception must come from God not myself.  This is the lesson.

 Father also responded that God was allowing this to happen to purify me; to force me to rely more on him and less on myself.  It was like God performed spiritual surgery, allowing my life to be very painful in the short term so that I could enjoy more peace through a purer surrender.  It all made sense now, I had some peace, I had a guiding perception that could add profound meaning to my plight.  The choice was simple:  trust God and ride out this storm.  The difficult part was implementing this newfound knowlege.

This passage from Imitation of Christ gave me comfort,

"Fight on like a good soldier; and if sometimes through weakness you fall, get up again and with greater strength than before, trust in My abundant grace...So be ready to fight to win the victory.  Without conflict you can not obtain the crown of patience.  If you reject the suffering, you reject the crown also; but if you wish to be crowned, resist strongly and suffer patiently.  There is no rest without labor, nor victory without battle"  (Book 3 Chapter 6:5 & Chapter 19:4) 

It is my prayer that during this ordeal I grow closer to Christ through a more complete and purer surrender.

Comments

Popular posts from this blog

10 Great Quotes from The Book of Sirach

The book of Sirach is a book that is often overlooked in the bible. This is unfortunate since this book contains many wise, practical saying on how to live a virtous life. The book was believed to have been written between 200-175 B.C.E.

Here are ten quotes that I feel best reflect this timeless work.

1."Do not become a beggar by feasting with\borrowed money, when you have nothing in your purse." Sirach 18:33

2."In all you do remember the end of your life, and then you will never sin." 7:36

3.."Glory and dishonor come from speaking; a man's tongue is his downfall." 5:13"

4."A wise man is cautious in everything." 18:27

5."One who trusts others is light minded." 19:4

6."If you pursue justice, you will obtain it and wear it as a glorious robe." 27:8

7."Many have fallen by the edge of the sword, but no many as have fallen because of the tongue." 28:18

8." In all of your work be industrious and no sickness will…

George Michael, Carrie Fisher, and The Afterlife

I was stunned, as was most of the world was when I heard about the passing of George Michael on Christmas day.  Michael possessed enormous talent was and one of the most successful acts in the 1980's and early 90's

Shortly after Carrie Fisher died.  Fisher was famous for her legendary role as princess Leia from the Star Wars movies.  Strangely her mother also died the day after.

2016 was a notable year for celebrity deaths.

Some names include Prince, Glenn Frey, David Bowie,  Doris Roberts, Alan Rickman, and Muhammad Ali.

As a Catholic these deaths got me thinking about the transient nature of life and the inevitability of death.

Marcus Aurelius, the stoic, emperor, philosopher king wrote about the passing nature of life as he reflected, "Time is a sort of river of passing events, and strong is its current; no sooner is a thing brought to sight than it is swept by and another takes its place, and this too will be swept away."

Even though I agree mostly with Aurelius&…

Me vs. The Almighty

There is a famous scene in the Bible where Jacob wrestles with God.  Jacob fights with God until God takes out a bone from Jacob's thigh. Interestingly, God eventually relents and stops fighting with Jacob. After this dramatic incident, Jacob is renamed Israel which literally means, "he who struggles with God."

I can relate to this story.  Many times in my life I have argued with God. I still do. (my wife can attest to that.) Many times I have criticized his tactics, his ways, and his wisdom. In my worst moments, I have even used choice language. I have a complicated relationship with God. Like Jacob, I have wrestled with God. (thigh bone still intact)

Recently I approached a priest friend of mine and told him of my struggles with God.  I expected that he would chide me for my lack of respect and informality. What this priest said was illuminating and encouraging. He told me that it was OK at times to be angry with God, God understood. He, in fact, encouraged this honest…