“Free me from my fear.”

(Esther 4.30)

Let us face it.
We live in a society that is somewhat crazy.
So crazy that it wants to remove pain from life.

Patience is a nowhere-to-be-found virtue.
We want everything promptly.
We have lost the art of waiting.
Just press a button and everything has to come right away.

Sacrifice is unthinkable.
People are terrified of pain.
A headache? Swallow a pill or two.
Too warm? Switch on the air conditioner.
Cold? Put on the heater.
Hungry? Nibble something.
Caught in a traffic jam? Traffic rage!

We escape suffering obsessively.
Our level of tolerance is becoming lower and lower.
We always look for the quick and painless solution.

Illness terrifies us.
If our children get sick, we lose our composure.
We just panic in the face of pain!

Something wide of the mark in all this…

Because pain is inevitable in life
and no one has the power or the ability to take it away.
Rather, in our effort to eliminate it
we are becoming even more upset and consequently pain increases.
It is the fool who dreams of a world without suffering, pain, sadness,
adversities, problems…

The secret is not how to avoid pain but how to learn to live with it.
Common sense should tell us
that if God – who is all-wise and all-good -
allowed pain in life,
it must have a meaning, a good meaning.
If instead of immediately calming the wind and the waves
Jesus remained asleep as if nothing was happening,
- he was not very happy when they woke him up -
that means that winds and high waves are part of the good plans of God for us.

It takes time to digest this.
Because, the moment a storm appears in life,
the moment our boat starts rocking…
my children get ill,
my husband gets the sack,
my mother in law can not stand me,
my children react riotously to my corrections,
our relationships starts floundering
our work in the Lord’s field appears fruitless…
we freak out
we immediately get depressed
we quickly conclude that God made a mistake here,
we are ready to fume.

Whereas the Word of God reminds us
that in the boat of life we are never alone.
However big the waves are
however strong the wind is
no matter the amount of water entering the boat
there is Someone who is stronger than the wind
stronger than the waves
just waiting for the right moment
to command the wind and the waves to be still!

He will not take us out of the boat.
He will not change the circumstances.
He will not remove our problems.
He will change us.
He will give us the strength to live with the pain without going berserk,
to live with the problems without becoming neurotic.
We shall realize that we can do ALL things through Him who strengthens us.

How cool it is to be a real Christian!

But the mother was especially admirable and worthy of honourable remembrance,
for she watched the death of seven sons and endured it resolutely
because of her hopes in the Lord.
Indeed she encouraged each of them:
‘I do not know how you appeared in my womb;
it was not I who endowed you with breath,
I had not the shaping of your every part.
It is the creator of the world, ordaining the process of man’s birth
and presiding over the origin of all things,
who in his mercy will most surely give you back both breath and life,
seeing that you now despise your own existence,
for the sake of his laws
.’ ” (2 Maccabees 7.20-23)

(c) Fr. Pius Sammut, OCD. Permission is hereby granted for any non-commercial use, provided that the content is unaltered from its original state, if this copyright notice is included.