01 July 2009

The July Heat

This month is very hot in North Florida. Today, as I left the office, my car thermometer read 104 degrees Fahrenheit. And, today's humidity was about 92% (maybe an exaggeration, but it sure felt like it), making it feel hotter than it actually was--imagine wrapping yourself in a very warm, wet blanket and then going outside to do your usual activities.

This is the time of year where the anticipation of something to come starts to pull at us, but today all we have is the heat. We have celebrated the Resurrection of Our Lord, Pentecost, Trinity Sunday, and the Solemnity of the Sacred Heart. Those liturgical celebrations are now behind us. But, we know that other great feasts are ahead, so we begin to feel a sense of pulling--a grasping, tugging at our soul. So we offer up this period of perseverance to Our Lord.

Perseverance. Many saints have said they suffered periods of spiritual dryness--a lack of response from God. Recently, Mother Theresa's writings were referenced extensively in the media for describing this dark night of the soul. Does this show that persons who so suffer are less faithful than others? Does it cause us to doubt that there is a God, if we do not receive the spiritual refreshment that we expect from our prayer and the sacraments? NO!

Quite the contrary, those who persevere in God's commands through the dark night of the soul are made more perfect in their union with Christ on the cross. To suffer, but to still persevere--to not receive the reward, but still obey the commands--to struggle, and not know when the struggle will end--is a most tremendous gift from Our Lord. Jesus suffered for our sins in ways that we in the Western World find particularly difficult to imagine, given our high standards of living. The true humility of Christ is beyond our ability to comprehend. Yet, Christ's own suffering and humility were the gifts of sacrifice that God gave to us sinner by sending his Only Son, Our Lord. To share that gift of suffering, while sometimes a seemingly undue, unfair, and terrible hardship (in merely human eyes), is actually instead a great gift that so many of our Saints have persevered and been made holy by.

So, in this period of heat and dryness--as we wait for the turning of the Liturgical calendar to bring us the seasons of Advent and Christmas that lay ahead--let us reflect on the gift of this season of Ordinary Time. Rejoice that this time has been given us to dwell more certainly on our Love for God. Take heart in the examples of the saints in living lives of perseverance in God through their difficulties. Love our Lord even more than you thought possible in this season!

Pray to persevere.

No comments:

Post a Comment