Grace to you!
In today’s reflection, I encourage you in your commitments to a virtuous lifestyle to remain faithful and keep moving.
A Christ-centered virtuous lifestyle is a wonderful spiritual experience. Yet, it comes with some measure of trials. As a spiritual director, I’ve never met any believer who hasn’t had his or her share of the trials. Strangely, many times those come from people they love; those for whom they sacrifice so much. They make a mockery of their faith and virtuous lifestyle. They treat them unjustly. They malign them. They plot to ruin their lives. They tell all sorts of lies against them.
Sometimes, the just get worried about all these. Why are they doing this to me despite the fact that I love them? I sacrifice for them. I wish them well and pray for them. Why are they treating my children this way? Why are they ruining my relationships? Why are they not appreciating the extra miles I go to make sure our workplace performs better and improve our bottom line? Why is my child, my neighbor… mean to me? Etc.
You may go on with the why this and why that and get frustrated trying to make sense of it all. You fail to see that your commitment to a virtuous life is already a stigma to the world of evil. Anyone opposed to virtuous life wouldn’t love you. Certainly, you are the devil’s number one enemy. You are a target.
If you go through the Bible, you would realize that the just didn’t find it easy either. For instance, read the Book of Wisdom 2:12-22. It reveals the mental state of those opposed to the ways of the just. Their thought is hateful and mean. They find excuses to treat the just badly. Simply because you love God and believe God loves you make you an enemy. Simply because you believe in a virtuous lifestyle, makes the unjust upset. They see your ways as unlike others and the very sight of you is like an uncomfortable burden to them (Wis 2:15).
You would notice that the Lord Jesus Christ, in whose footsteps you walk, never was exempt from the rejection of the unjust either. There were numerous traits preceding his crucifixion. The Gospel of John 7 describes one of them. In fact, all the sufferings and persecutions prophesied in the Old Testament find their culmination in Christ, whom the prophesy of Isaiah described as the suffering Messiah: “Man of sorrows familiar with suffering” (Is 53:3).
You see that with a virtuous life, suffering precedes glory. It isn’t the other way around.
So, what are you going to do? Are you going to waste your time trying to make sense of some people treating you in mean ways because you want to do the right thing? Try as you may, you may not find any reasonable answer. You would likely get more frustrated.
Learn from the Lord. Press on. Keep doing good anyway. Evil wants all to be its disciple by pulling all down from the cross of glory. Never let evil or evil plots get in your head. Never let trials pull you down. See them as a necessary route in the growth of your spiritual life. Press on.
Praying for the grace of courage. Amen
God love you. God bless you.
Fr. Maurice Emelu
[Friday Week 4: Wis 2:1a, 12-22: Jn 7:1-2, 10, 25-30]
Father Maurice Emelu, Ph.D., provides a daily blog of reflections for the season of Lent your individual spiritual edification. It may also be helpful for ministers in preparing their sermons for liturgical celebrations. .