Chiara continued to live the Gospel every day, and her faith in God gave her the peace and courage to cope with her illness. The people who surrounded her were awed by her serenity, and, despite the severe pain, her smile. She sought to console them instead, and prepared them for her departure. She saw her suffering as God asking more of her, and waited for the day she would meet Jesus.
Can I accept the 'annunciation' of my suffering with the same faith and trust, saying "yes" to God's ultimate plan for me despite the current trials that His plan seems to include (and hope it's not just a loophole in His plan)?
Can I trust that amidst seemingly barren circumstances, where all tears have been exhausted and no hope seems to be in sight, can I still believe that nothing is impossible for God, that His goodness and promises will eventually prevail?
The Birth of Jesus
Can we, in the midst of prickly and stinking situations, still recall and accept our identity as precious children of God, heirs to His heavenly kingdom, our role as priests (common or ministerial) to be witnesses of faith and love to others when we persevere in our suffering and inspire others to do the same, and our mission to suffer and 'die' to our comforts, desires and will, in order to carry out God's plan of salvation and share in the glory of Jesus' resurrection when the time comes? Can we also accept God's many other gifts, including the gift of faith, hope, and love, to sustain us through our ordeal and keep us close to Him?
Can we too consecrate our lives to God, recognising that we have no rightful claim, ownership or control over everything God has placed in our lives, and realising that only when we submit our lives and will to God, can His perfect plan for us be fulfilled in our lives where true peace, love, joy and fulfilment will indeed be given to us at the appropriate time?
Finally, the Finding of Jesus at the Temple
As I continued my rosary walk, contemplating on this last mystery, and prompted to keep my eyes closed while walking in order to enter into the 'darkness' of our suffering, I began to notice my steps slowing down, my awareness of my surrounding increased, and my senses sharpened as I tried to feel my way ahead with my feet to ensure I didn't fall into a drain or crash into a tree. Sure enough, while I was mid-way through my last decade of the rosary, my slipper touched the curb in time for me to freeze immediately. As I slowly opened my eyes, I realised that if I hadn't stopped in time, I would've been on my way to falling into a drain!
That was when I realised what suffering does for us. In life, we often get so busy and caught up with life, clammering for what we desire, that we fail to slow down, fail to be aware of what God truly wills for us. Suffering does that for us. It gives us a much-needed opportunity to slow down, and hopefully after we get tired of ranting and raving and getting angry with God, we may eventually decide to rest in Him, another much-needed opportunity that we rarely make time for. And once we slow down, our awareness of God in our surrounding and in our hearts increase along with our senses that begin to sharpen as we gradually begin to sense God's comfort in the small things - a comforting word from a friend, an encouraging email that 'happened' to be sent to you, or even an out-of-the blue kid that smiles at you, things which you normally don't realise in the hustle and bustle of life. And that is when we begin to slowly become more conscious and aware of God's love and faithfulness towards us, and begin to desire to grow in our relationship with God, and trust in His ways.
Sometimes, God is afraid (and even knows how) our fast-paced, spiritually-starved lives may one day drive us not just into a curb or a drain but even off a cliff if we are not careful. Out of His love, as much as it must hurt Him more than it hurts us, He allows suffering to enter our lives, to throw us into darkness and uncertainty, in order to slow us down, and 'force' us to increase our awareness and sharpen our senses to His abounding and faithful love, so that we may not only stop ourselves from hitting the curb, but more importantly begin to be more aware of His love, trust in His ways, and walk with Him hopefully for the rest of our lives, towards His perfect plan for us.
|Even when we find ourselves constantly walking in the darkness of our shadows, it is Christ who has been constantly walking right behind us, shining His Eternal Light onto us to show that we are never alone. |