Friday, December 10, 2010

Do All Things Really Work Together For The Good?

A columnist in the Catholic Times treats an important subject bothering many. Years ago a young  grammar school student told her parents she didn't want to go to Church any more. She had prayed to do well in the exams, but she flunked; from that day on she considered prayers useless. The parents had difficulty in trying to convince her of the need to continue to grow in her prayer life. It was a hard sell, and they were hoping from some words of wisdom from their pastor.

This is not only a problem with children but also with adults. Our priest-columnist mentions his own experience with a relative he respected and who held him in high regard as well. The columnist prayed often for the relative's good health, who had made it known many times that he wanted the priest-columnist to be the celebrant at his funeral Mass, and he had promised but events prevented him from being there.

The relative died suddenly, and the columnist, being at the time in a foreign country and in circumstances that made it impossible to attend, was greatly upset; not being able to make good on his promise brought tears to his eyes. Continuing to feel badly about it, he was visited by an older diocesan priest who seemed to know of the columnist's circumstances for he spoke to him in a way that addressed his  situation.

"Brother," he said, "I have a story to tell you. One of our older priests, talking to a group of us younger priests, said with great confidence that 'God exists'. His fellow priests, seeing how certain he was, asked for the reason for his conviction. Laughing, he said: 'I have  tried to live my priestly life well and zealously but  there is nothing that turned out the way I wanted. At the dedication of the Church we built, it rained; the day was ruined. Our parish athletic event that had been planned with great expectations to unify the parish was interrupted by a  thunderstorm. And on some of the great feast days, things did not work out as expected. Something would come up to make the original plans impossible to achieve and yet in God's providence all worked out well. Though it was not what I wanted, it was all that I needed.' The diocesan priest ended by saying that all the seeming failures in his own life had only made his belief stronger. Yes, God exists. All that was needed had been given."

Life, in the words of the columnist, often does not turn out the way we wanted. God is in his heaven and with our prayers is leading us according to his providence. God is always with us. When we believe  and trust in this  providence and follow its direction then it may not be what we wanted, but it is God making things work together for the good. God writes straight with the crooked lines we have made. The columnist could dry his tears and trust in the love of God.                      

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