for the IV Sunday after Easter
at St Francis of Assisi, Llay - tomorrow (Sunday 14th May) at 12.30pm.
It is fruitful for us to conform ourselves to the ways of God, as this allows us to begin to see things in a different light than the rest of the world. All that God has said and done is good. All that God gives us is good. Even when He takes something away from us we see that it is because He intends to give us something better.
If we are even stripped of all pleasure and joy in this world it is a very small price to pay for an eternal happiness with God in heaven. We for some strange reason cling to the inferior fleeting pleasures of this life as if they were the greatest good; and often neglect or even destroy our hopes for an eternal good in heaven.
As we mature in the faith we must put off the ways of thinking of the world and put on the ways of God. We are God’s children, therefore we must conform ourselves to Him more and more each day. There was no joyful Easter morning without first the bitter passion and death of our Lord, on Good Friday. Christ has invited us to follow Him in this great joy, but it means that we must “deny ourselves and take up our cross daily.”
Not only must we accept the crosses and embrace them lovingly as perfect gifts from God, but we must also accept the apparent loss of God’s presence as He withdraws Himself from us from time to time. When Jesus announced His departure from the Apostles, He tells them that it is good for them that He goes so that He can send them the Holy Ghost. With the coming of the Holy Ghost they will receive even more graces.
So we learn that when God holds something back or takes something away from us it is for our own good. It usually means that there is something greater or better in store for us. We often see this manifested in the virtue of giving. When we give away something to help another God often replaces what was given with something even more desirable than what we originally had. We see that the generous giver suffers very little or even no loss at all. This is just considering the things of this earth; when we add in eternal things we see God’s goodness manifested even more clearly.
Our spiritual losses or separations are only demanded of us so as to make way within us for something greater. The material joy of Jesus’ resurrection appears to be lost with His Ascension only to prepare us to be filled with the Holy Ghost on Pentecost.
Our lives appear to be this continual fluctuation: receiving the good things from God, our heavenly Father, only to have them lost or taken away and then later replaced with something that is even better than the first.
In this manner we are to grow in the virtues of Faith, Hope, and Charity. We must always treasure the things God has given us, but we must never allow ourselves to become so attached that we never want to let them go. We must always be willing to sacrifice them to something greater. Step by step, God is showing us the way to loving Him as we ought; maturing us so that we can readily let go of the little things of this earth to make room for the greatest goods of Heaven. He is teaching us how to empty ourselves so that there is room only for God.