Grace to you!
Courage (not his real name) was a priest who was falsely accused of a crime he didn’t commit. He happened to be like the proverbial monkey who was nosy and received the hunter’s bullet.
Unwittingly, he found himself in a circle of crime. His carefree lifestyle added to his problem. At first, he didn’t know it was a serious matter. As days rolled by, he realized he was in a terrible situation. He spent some time in jail for it. Justice must be done.
His description of the experiences, before, during and after his jail term, was one of the most incredible I have read. He witnessed what it means to fall from grace, be completely disrobed of any relevance and status, and be roommate with “convicts” in jail. He also realized that some in jail are innocent, though found guilty. His case was, for him, an eye opener.
However, he claimed, in retrospect, the best moments of his life as a priest were those few months he was in jail. Prior to serving in jail, he hardly appreciated the depth of his identity as a priest and a child of God. His sufferings, through the “moments of excruciating trials,” as he described it, were true occasions of renewal, humility and the practice of the virtues of faith and hope.
Suffering, Scripture says, produces character (Romans 5:3).
One day, as I was praying a bible text, I received a message from a friend that read: “If I never had a problem, I would never know that God could solve it. Through my problems, I have learned to trust in Jesus and to depend upon his words.” How true are these words.
There are challenges all around us—it could be declining health, broken trust and relationships, troubled marriage, dealing with a delicate and humbling child, managing a difficult supervisor, meeting the wall as we try to find justice in our case or to redeem our good name that was smeared. It could be being homeless, or the challenges of dealing with a hopeless fiscal future. Challenges abound. Amidst them all, God speaks with the gentle word of solidarity and grace.
The Letter to the Hebrews captures how those words sound like. “But recall the former days when, after you were enlightened, you endured a hard struggle with sufferings, sometimes being publicly exposed to abuse and affliction, and sometimes being partners with those so treated… Therefore do not throw away your confidence, which has a great reward. For you have need of endurance, so that you may do the will of God and receive what is promised.” (Hebrew 10: 32-36).
In difficult and trying moments, do not throw away your confidence.
I pray God to grant us the grace to persevere to the end. Amen
God love you. God bless you.
Fr. Maurice Emelu
Fr. Maurice Emelu
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.