Yesterday was a jammed packed day, so I didn’t get a chance to post Wednesday’s Inspiration. My apologizes, but here it is today.
The other day I read some very inspiring work by Flannery O’Connor. She is considered one of America’s greatest fiction writers and one of the strongest apologists for the Roman Catholic Church in the twentieth century. She was born in 1925 and “was a devout believer whose small but impressive body of fiction presents the soul’s struggle with what she called the stinking mad shadow of Jesus.” The quote that touched my heart was, “All human nature vigorously resists grace because grace changes us and the change is painful.” I pondered her words for a long time in silence. What does that really mean I thought?
Imagine a father teaching his young daughter to ride a bike for the first time. The child is probably four or five and eagerly awaiting the opportunity to be just like the other kids on the street. Her father, no doubt is equally excited for his daughter to take this next step in her development. But he must teach her to ride a bike with training wheels first because of her size. What if he brought home a woman’s Trek mountain bike and told her to get on it. It would be impossible for her to balance the size of the mountain bike and once he let go the bike would immediately fall and the little girl would badly hurt herself.
But a loving and gentle father wouldn’t do that, he would bring home a bike that is just her size. Our Heavenly Father is even more compassionate than the most earthly father you can imagine. God doesn’t give us difficulties that are too much for us to handle. Every cross He gives us is lovingly prepared by Him, for us. He knows our hearts, our fears, our capacity for suffering and the grace we need to combat the suffering. But often, as Flannery O’Connor’s quote suggests we don’t except the grace that God offers us because of our human sinfulness. And just as the earthy father in the story wouldn’t put his four-year old daughter on a woman’s mountain bike, our Heavenly Father can’t give us the next portion of grace so to speak if we didn’t respond to the first. But, He will always be there when we are ready to respond.
Change is painful, and I bet everyone knows that. Just think of something you have accomplished in life, did you get there without pain and sacrifice? I doubt it.
Blessed Mother Teresa once said that “suffering is nothing but the kiss of Jesus, a sign that He has come so close to you that He can kiss you.” Mother’s quote made me think of something I read in In Conversation with God a few weeks ago. “A holy soul once experienced difficult trials. One calamity after another befell her, and each succeeding disaster seemed worse than the one before. Finally, that soul turned affectionately to our Lord and asked, But Lord, what have I done to you? And in the depths of her heart came the reply, You have loved me. She thought of Calvary and understood a little better how our Lord wanted to purify her and draw her close to the salvation of many who were lost, far from God. She was then filled with peace and joy.”
Let us all pray for the grace this day to respond to the grace that our Heavenly Father gives us, so we can glorify His name with our lives . So we can embrace the pain that comes with change, so we can be His saints.
To have the Cross is to have joy: it is to have You Lord! – Saint Josemaria Escriva