Thursday, February 22, 2007

Why Should It Happen to Me?

1. When we are overtaken by some unexpected misfortune or sorrow, or are forced to undertake an unusually difficult job, we often forget to surrender ourselves into the hands of God and pray for help and peace of mind. Instead, we feel annoyed and discouraged and give vent to our feelings in a most unchristian manner. "Why should it happen to me:" This is the reaction of many people in such cases. "It had to happen to me!" they say. They forget that sanctity involves sacrifice, self-denial and resignation to the will of God. The kingdom of heaven has been enduring violent assault, and the violent have been seizing it by force, (I Mt. 11:12) the Gospel says. In other words, if a man wants to win Heaven he must be stern with himself and establish control over any perverse tendencies in his own nature.

2. When Jesus had been scourged and crowned with thorns, He was forced to set out towards the execution-ground on Calvary, carrying the heavy wooden cross. On the way He met a Cyrenean named Simon, who was probably returning from his work in the fields outside the city. The Jews had realised that Jesus had lost so much blood that He was unable to bear the weight any longer. They felt no compassion for Him, but they were anxious to save their victim for the final punishment. With this in mind, they compelled Simon to carry Jesus' cross. The Cyrenean could have said: "Why pick on me? I am tired and must get home . . ." But his eyes met the tired gaze of Our Saviour. He saw that He was covered with wounds and streaming blood. Simon was deeply moved and willingly lifted the Cross which he carried to the place of execution .(Cf. Mt. 27:32; Mark 15:21; Luke 23:26)

Picture Jesus, suffering and bleeding on the road to Calvary, and Simon removing the Cross from the shoulders of Our Saviour and transferring it to his own. How can we ever again rebel and complain when we meet with inconvenience or sorrow?

3. When the Saints were confronted by misfortune or suffering, they submitted and thanked God. They understood that this was the price of Heaven. I reckon that the sufferings of the present time, St. Paul writes, are not worthy to be compared with the glory to come that will be revealed in us.(Rom. 8:18)

"So great is the reward which awaits me," St. Francis of Assisi was fond of saying, "it is a joy for me to suffer." Let our attitude be the same. Then we shall find it easier to win the battles of life and our troubles will be lightened by the brightest of all hopes, the hope of Heaven.