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.
In our everyday life as God’s children, we notice that tough moment of spiritual dryness, or what some spiritual writers call desolation, is 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, which was costing them over fifty thousand dollars every year to maintain, witnessed one of those spiritual consolations. 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, adding, “Let’s see what happens within the next two weeks.”
Actually, 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, this 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 messages of consolation, he goes back to the cross; and from the cross he moves to consolation. It’s like a circle maturing in the final victory of the believer which happens when we die.
A couple of Scriptural examples will do for today’s reflection. First is the 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 little 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 and 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 mood of the disciples 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 difficult to bear, your consolation is near.
Tuck this word in your heart: “My [God’s] grace is sufficient for you.” (2 Cor 12:9)
God love you. God bless you.
Fr. Maurice Emelu
[Monday 19th Week. Readings: Dt 10:12-22; Mt 17:22-27]
Fr. Maurice Emelu, Ph.D.
Father Maurice provides a daily blog of reflections based on the bible readings of the day from the Catholic liturgical calendar. You will find these reflections helpful for your spiritual growth, inspiration and developing your own thoughts. It may also be helpful for ministers in preparing their sermons for liturgical celebrations.