Tuesday, July 17, 2012

Devotion for today: when I find myself in tribulations…

Today let us take a look at some advice for various tribulations that we may experience.

Scripture for meditation: John 15:1-2
“I am the true vine, and my Father is the vine grower. He takes away every branch in me that does not bear fruit, and everyone that does he prunes so that it bears more fruit.”

Scripture for reflection: John 11: 40-44, 53
 Jesus said to her, “Did I not tell you that if you believe you will see the glory of God?”So they took away the stone. And Jesus raised his eyes and said, “Father, I thank you for hearing me. I know that you always hear me; but because of the crowd here I have said this, that they may believe that you sent me.” And when he had said this, he cried out in a loud voice, “Lazarus, come out!”The dead man came out, tied hand and foot with burial bands, and his face was wrapped in a cloth. So Jesus said to them, “Untie him and let him go.” So from that day on they planned to kill him.

Josemaria Escriva tells us (numbers refer to sections of his book): 685: on tribulations of the Church: The storm of persecution is good. What is lost? You can’t lose something if it’s already lost. When the whole tree is not torn up by the roots – and there is no wind or hurricane that can uproot the tree of the Church – only the dry branches fall. And it is best that they fall. 686 (being offended): All right: that person has behaved badly toward you. But, haven’t you behaved worse toward God? 689 (victim of gossip): Tongues have been wagging and you’ve suffered rebuffs that hurt you, and all the more because you were not expecting them. Your supernatural reaction should be to pardon – and even to ask for pardon! – And to take advantage of the experience to detach yourself from creatures. 693-694 (not appreciated): It hurt you not to have been thanked for that favor. Answer me these two questions: Are you so grateful toward Christ Jesus? Did you really do that favor in the hope of being thanked for it on earth? I don’t know why you’re amazed: the enemies of Christ were never very reasonable. When Lazarus was raised from the dead, you might have thought they would yield and confess the divinity of Jesus. But no! “Let us kill him who gives life!” they said. It is the same today.  698 (unfair treatment): So you’ve been hauled over the coals? Don’t follow the advice of pride and lose your temper. Think: how charitable they are toward me! The things they’ve left unsaid! 700-701 (stress): Agreed: there is a lot of external pressure, which excuses you in part. But there is also complicity within (take a good look), and there I see no excuse. Have you not heard the parable of the vine and the branches from the lips of the Master? Console yourself: He demands much of you, for you are the branch that bears fruit. And he must prune you… “so that you’ll yield more fruit.” Of course that cutting – that pruning hurts. But, afterwards, how luxuriant the growth, how fruitful your works! (The Way, Sceptor Publishers, 1982)

Prayer: Josemaria Escriva: Are you suffering some great tribulation? Say very slowly, as if savoring the words, this powerful…prayer: “May the most just and most lovable will of God be done, be fulfilled, be praised and eternally exalted above all things. Amen. Amen.” I assure that you’ll find peace.
My thoughts: It is very clear from the writings of Josemaria Escriva that God’s way is not man’s way, and that our way must be God’s way. In his many examples of tribulations, Josemaria Escriva tells us to “take the road less traveled,” which means we must bear insults, problems, and ungratefulness. This means we are truly God's chosen ones who must be pruned in order to continue to bear good fruit and not bad. We see that the more the world tells us to fight back and get even, God tells us to bear all things patiently, as Jesus did. What better example do we have than to see Jesus, day after day, miracle after miracle, attacked and derided for simply being who He is, and He is God! Why do we think any less is going to happen to us? So, we must take every opportunity to not take offense, not be hurt, not to stress out, but instead, to ask ourselves, “What does God want from me in this situation?” The answer is harder to take than the one the world would give us, but it is so, so much more rewarding in the end!

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