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Tuesday, 4 December 2012

Suffering and Prayer

Weekly, I  am treated by phone calls or texting from some seminarian friends of mine. This week one of the topics was how does one convert people to Catholicism? The subject came up when I realized that one of the sems was frequently looking for a political solution to America's decadence. I reminded him that his job one day as a priest would be to bring people to the Faith, not to convince them about politics. Politics follows faith and  catechesis on the Truth of the Teaching of the Catholic Church.

When we cleared the air on that point, he asked me, humbly, how does one convert people who will not listen? Merely the day before, an excellent priest had reminded me that only prayer and suffering bring people to Christ and His Church.

My prayer and my suffering are not worth anything without these being united to that of Christ. And, that is a mutual movement-God comes to us and we go to God.

Do not waste suffering.

Many of you are having financial difficulties, like myself. That is suffering.

Many of you have family members who are fallen away Catholics, like I do. That is suffering.

Some of you are lonely, and alone, like me. That is definitely a suffering.

And there are more types of suffering, such as being overlooked for a promotion, penury, misunderstandings, unfair judgement, serious illness, separations and divorce; the death of a child.

But, here is the key to using that suffering. Accepting it in joy and not fighting God is the two-sided key. Accept and do not fight. Grieve, if you must. We are GIVEN suffering. We only need to accept it fully and then joy comes. The joy only comes in facing it fully for what it is, and letting God into the suffering.

It is an odd mixture, suffering and joy. It takes practice and a humility that we deserve the suffering because of our sins.

Only then can there be efficacious prayer.