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The Chalice He Offers Us

It is one of the most firmly established and most consoling of the truths that have been revealed to us that (apart from sin) nothing happens to us in life unless God wills it so. Wealth and poverty alike come from Him. If we fall ill, God is the cause of our illness; if we get well, our recovery is due to God. We owe our lives entirely to Him, and when death comes to put an end to life, His will be the hand that deals the blow. But should we attribute it to God when we are unjustly persecuted? Yes, He is the only person you can charge with the wrong you suffer. He is not the cause of the sin the person commits by ill-treating you, but He is the cause of the suffering that person inflicts on you while sinning.

God did not inspire your enemy with the will to harm you, but He gave him the power to do so. If you receive a wound, do not doubt but that it is God Himself who has wounded you. If all living creatures were to league themselves against you, unless the Creator wished it and joined with them and gave them the strength and means to carry out their purpose, they would never succeed. You would have no power over me if it had not been given you from above, the Saviour of the world said to Pilate. We can say the same to demons and men, to the brute beasts and to whatever exists—You would not be able to disturb me or harm me as you do unless God had ordered it so. You are sent by Him, you are given the power by Him to tempt me and to make me suffer. You would have no power over me if it had not been given you from above.

If from time to time we meditated seriously on this truth of our faith it would be enough to stifle all complaint in whatever loss or misfortune we suffer. What I have the Lord gave me, it has been taken away by Him. It is not a lawsuit or a thief that has ruined you or a certain person that has slandered you; if your child dies it is not by accident or wrong treatment, but because God, to whom all belongs, has not wished you to keep it longer.

When God Sends Us Trials

If you would be convinced that in all He allows and in all that happens to you God has no other end in view but your real advantage and your eternal happiness, reflect a moment on all He has done for you; you are now suffering, but remember that the author of this suffering is He who chose to spend His life suffering to save you from everlasting suffering, whose angel is always at your side guarding your body and soul by His order, who sacrifices Himself daily on the altar to expiate your sins and appease His Father’s anger, who comes lovingly to you in the Holy Eucharist and whose greatest pleasure is to be united to you. We must be very ungrateful to mistrust Him after He has shown such proofs of His love and to imagine that He can intend us harm. But, you will say, this blow is a cruel one, He strikes too hard. What have you to fear from a hand that was pierced and nailed to the Cross for you?—The path I have to tread is full of thorns. If there is no other to reach Heaven by, do you prefer to perish forever rather than to suffer for a time? Is it not the same path He trod before you out of love for you? Is there a thorn in it that He has not reddened with His own blood?—The chalice He offers you is a bitter one. But remember that it is your Redeemer who offers it. Loving you as He does, could He bring Himself to treat you so severely if the need were not urgent, the gain not worthwhile? Can we dare to refuse the chalice He has prepared for us Himself? Reflect well on this. It should be enough to make us accept and love whatever trials He intends we should suffer. Moreover it is the certain means of securing our happiness in this life quite apart from the next.

This article is taken from a chapter in Trustful Surrender to Divine Providence by Fr. Jean Baptiste Saint-Jure, S.J. and St. Claude de la Colombière, S.J., which is available from TAN Books.

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