Trials and Punishments are Blessings From God and Proof of His Mercy

Looking, St. Paul tells us, towards the author and finisher of faith, Jesus (the only begotten and beloved Son in whom the Father is well pleased). . . .Consider then him who endured such opposition from sinners against himself, so that you may not grow weary and lose heart.

For you have not yet resisted unto blood (as He did) in the struggle with sin, and you have forgotten the exhortation that is addressed to you as sons, saying, My son, neglect not the discipline of the Lord, neither be thou weary when thou art rebuked by him.

For whom the Lord loves he chastises, and he scourges every son whom he receives. Continue under discipline, for God deals with you as with sons; for what son is there whom his father does not correct (Heb. 12:2-7)? In short, the purpose for which God acts is a high and holy one, His own glory and the good of His creatures. Infinitely good—Goodness itself—He seeks to make them all perfect by drawing them towards Him and making them sharers in His divinity as far as they are capable.

But because of the close ties He has established with us by the union of our nature with His in the person of His Son, we in a still more special manner are the object of His benevolence and tender care. A glove is not more fitted to a hand or a sword to a scabbard than what He does and ordains in us and for us is suited to our strength and capabilities, so that everything may serve to our advantage and perfection if we but cooperate with the designs of His providence.

Our Trials are Never Greater Than Our Strength to Bear Them

Do not let ourselves be troubled when we are sometimes beset by adversity, for we know that it is meant for our spiritual welfare and carefully proportioned to our needs, and that a limit has been set to it by the wisdom of the same God who has set a bound to the ocean. Sometimes it might seem as if the sea in its fury would overflow and flood the land, but it respects the limits of its shore and its waves break upon the yielding sand.

There is no tribulation or temptation whose limits God has not appointed so as to serve not for our destruction but for our salvation. God is faithful, says the Apostle, and will not permit you to be tempted (or afflicted) beyond your strength (1 Cor. 10:13), but it is necessary for you to be so, since through many tribulations we must enter the kingdom of God (Act 14:21) in the steps of our Redeemer, who said of Himself, “Did not the Christ have to suffer all these things before entering into his glory?” (Luke 24:26)

If you refused to accept these tribulations you would be acting against your best interests. You are like a block of marble in the hands of the sculptor. The sculptor must chip, hew and smooth it to make it into a statue that is a work of art. God wishes to make us the living image of Himself.

All we need to think of is to keep still in His hands while He works on us, and we can rest assured that the chisel will never strike the slightest blow that is not needed for His purposes and our sanctification; for, as St. Paul says, “The will of God is your sanctification” (1 Thess. 4:3).

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 Colombiere, S.J.  which is available from TAN Books.



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