A friend of mine stopped me as I walked the dog this morning. We chatted easily, and then she asked, "How is everybody at your house?"
The dreaded question -- the one I would rather answer rhetorically than honestly because we always seem to have someone sick or injured at our home. (insert deep SIGH here!)
"Is it my doing?" I wondered before I answered. "Do I not make them wash their hands enough; do they wash too much, erasing all the germs which they need to build up resistance? Do we do too many activities keeping them run down, tired and susceptible; are we not doing enough to keep them fit and in sound health?"
I told her of our most recent tale of poor health, shrugged my shoulders and laughed. My friend remarked, "You can't catch a break!"
It's true. We do seem to get swamped, or maybe it's just that there are more of us to generously pass things around, I don't know. Whatever the case, I suppose I could allow myself to be agitated by these circumstances. But, what good would that do anyone?
Fr. Jacques Philippe writes in his book, Searching for and Maintaining Peace (an excellent and highly recommended read, by the way):
Our minds are sometimes so clouded over by that which is not going well, by that which (according to our own particular criteria!) should be different in our situations, that we forget the positive. Moreover, we are unable to profit from any aspect of our situations, even the aspects that only appear to be negative, in order for us to draw closer to God, to grow in faith, love and humility.
Many of the circumstances that I consider damaging, could, in fact, be for me, if I had more faith, precious opportunities to love more: to be more patient, more humble, more gentle, more merciful and to abandon myself more into the hands of God.Precious opportunities? He means, of course, that it's all in the attitude. How are you going to manage the situations that God allows in your life? Are you going to let them rule you? Or, are you going to trust that the Lord has provided these moments to make you, and those around you, better?
What type of attitude can sustain you in times of trial? It should be an attitude of trust and confidence holding to the truth that "God did not give us a spirit of cowardice but rather of power and love and self-control." (2 Tim 1:7) Use the saints as examples of what it means to surrender and accept with a spirit of peace and joy. Many saints suffered greatly and maintained sweet resolve in the promise of eternal life. Blessed Mother, Queen of Angels and Saints, is the exemplar of what it means to be peaceful in times of trial, and at all times. She never faltered, but was faithful even to the foot of the Cross. Her resolve should be my resolve -- I pray she intercedes for me, and for all of us, in that regard.
My friend is ultimately correct, I don't seem to get a break. I can only trust, that I, and my family, need these opportunities to make and keep us holy so that we might one day see God in His heavenly glory. In faith then, I will cling with confidence to the words of Our Lord to St. Paul, "My grace is sufficient for you, for power is made perfect in weakness." (2 Cor 12:9), and know that He will provide all I need to help me catch that break, finally, in the Beatific Vision.