Grace to you!
From time to time, the Lord gives simple signs or miracles to reassure us of His presence. He knows how to interject spiritual consolations at the right time. He doesn’t let us down.
As God's children, we notice that a challenging moment of spiritual dryness occurs in our everyday life. These sorts of moments, what some spiritual writers call desolation, are often followed by spiritual consolation.
A recent life story is an example. A devout Catholic who had been having some difficulties selling two of her family properties had one of those moments of consolation. The properties were costing them over fifty thousand dollars every year to maintain. They were draining everything they had. But God intervened. It came from responses to her prayer petitions, and for her, it was miraculous.
She had asked a priest to remember her intentions in prayers. The priest promised to do so. In faith, the priest suggested to the woman: "Let's see what happens within the next two weeks."
The priest felt a deep burden to lift the woman's intention to the Lord. He offered Masses and the Rosary for it.
On the 13th day of the prayer, the excited woman called the priest to share her testimony. She sold the two properties the same day (the 13th day) to the kind of buyers she had wished would buy them. For her, it was simply a miracle, since, for two years, she had explored all her connections and promotional skills to sell the properties, but no one showed any interest. Consolation!
In the Spiritual Exercises of Saint Ignatius of Loyola, we read how consolation and desolation (anguish) experiences are part of the spiritual life. For those who want only the consolation part, I’m sorry. You will be disappointed.
Observe the pattern in the relationship of our Lord Jesus Christ with his disciples. From consolation messages, the Lord goes back to the cross; and from the cross, he moves to consolation. It is like a circle maturing in the believer's final victory, which happens when we sleep in the Lord.
A couple of Scriptural examples will do for today's reflection. First is the account of the Lord's Transfiguration in Matthew 17:1-5, which was preceded by the discussion about the crucifixion of the Christ, plus the cross that will mark the life of the disciples (Mt 16:21-28).
Second is the miracle that happened when the Lord told Peter to go to the sea, cast a hook, take the first fish he catches, open its mouth. There will be a shekel, enough to pay for his tax and Peter's (see Mt 17: 24-27). Of course, everything happened as the Lord had told Peter. This subtle miracle was preceded by a saddening message from the lips of the Lord regarding his crucifixion. Scripture tells us the disciples' mood after listening to that message: "They were greatly distressed" (Mt 17:23).
Perhaps, this reminds us that, “When the night is darkest, the dawn is near,” just like when the day is brightest, the dusk is near.
I advise people: spiritual consolation has a price—the cross. The cross has a reward—glory.
Hence, God isn't going to let you suffer what is beyond your ability. Remember, when it seems too painful to bear, your consolation is near.
Tuck this word in your heart: “My [God’s] grace is sufficient for you.” (2 Cor 12:9)
We pray for more graces when in challenging moments. Amen.
God love you. God bless you.
Fr. Maurice Emelu
[Monday 19th Week. Readings: Dt 10:12-22; Mt 17:22-27]
Author and Goal
Father Maurice Emelu PhD., provides a daily blog of reflections based on the Scriptural readings of the day from the Catholic liturgical calendar. The goal is to teach, inspire, encourage, and foster healing through the grace of God's word. They are written in a language that is appropriate for a general audience. You will find these reflections helpful for your spiritual growth, inspiration, and developing your thoughts. They may also be useful for ministers in preparing their sermons for liturgical celebrations.