Are You Feeling Tested?

2 Sep

“Trials teach us what we are; they dig up the soil, and let us see what we are made of.”
~ Charles Spurgeon

The past few weeks have been particularly painful for so many Catholics. The publication of cases of abuse in the dioceses of Pennsylvania have done much to fuel the flames of pain, sorrow, and guilt.  We all feel the pain of those who have been abused.  We all feel sorrow for what has happened. And we all feel as if we share in some collective guilt even though we were not personally involved.  After all, this is our Church of which we speak.

As we look at this particular moment, it causes us to look at other moments as well.  Our Church has been tested quite severely through the years.  Our history has not always been a good one.  There have been problems, issues, and scandals throughout the ages.  That is because our Church was founded on fallible, mortal people.  When stressed, our weaknesses often come to the fore instead of our strengths.

Yet, when tested, our weaknesses are often purified.  We become better people for what we have gone through and find that we are able to withstand even more.  Trials are not comfortable.  They are not desirable.  However, if we are to go through them, with God’s grace, they can make us stronger.

That is the operative word here, by the way: God’s grace. Jesus founded His Church upon sinners.  He knew the choices that they would make. Yet, He loved them and gave to them all the help they would possibly need through the gifts of the Holy Spirit.  When we find ourselves troubled, it is that same Lord and that same Spirit to whom we can turn for help.

The soil of the Church — and of our very lives — is definitely being turned up.  It is causing many people grief beyond compare.  However, I firmly believe that God is in the midst of all of that pain.  He is not causing it.  He is in the middle of it reaching out His hands to us so that we have someone to whom we can turn.

Our pain can cause us to turn our heads in shame and sorrow and walk away from God’s Church.  Or, our pain can cause us to grasp the hand of God and allow Him to lead us through this trial to whatever He has in store for us. Scandal will come and scandal will go. God’s love, however, remains throughout the ages, calling us back, calling us to Himself. Take His hand and find comfort.

FAITH ACTION:  Pray for the Church, that God may lead us through the sorrow of this time and provide the comfort that we need.