The Only Way to That New Room Is Through the Fire
June 21st, 2008 by Monsignor Dennis Clark, Ph.D. ·Print ·ShareThis
Jer 20:10-13/Rom 5:12-15/Mt 10:26-33
Here’s an unusual prayer:
Dear Lord, I want to thank you for being with me so far today. With your help, I haven’t been impatient, or lost my temper, or been mean, cantankerous, grumpy, or judgmental. But now, Lord, I’m really going to need your help, because, in a just few minutes I’ll be getting out of bed!
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With all the confusing stuff that hits us every day, none of us is immune to attacks of crabbiness. And when we think about all the bad things that could happen to us, we can really “lose it.” Bad things happen to good people: We lose our health, our wealth, our looks, our loved ones, our minds. And in the end, we all lose our lives. And none of it happens on an orderly timetable.
It’s frightening to think about. And all too easily, fears about our unseen future can rob us of the only thing we really have: the present. The Lord doesn’t want that to happen to us, so he says over and over, “Don’t be afraid. Don’t let fear steal even a single day from you.”
Easy to say till you face the prospect of going broke, or watching your child die, or getting sent to the rest home and knowing you’re never coming back. Is the Lord blind to all that suffering? On the contrary! He’s telling us what to do with it when it comes: “Don’t let fear paralyze you or make you despair or run away,” He says. “That’s just throwing your life away.
“You have an alternative. And that is to trust me — trust how much I really care about you. And if you decide that’s enough, you can take my hand and let me lead you through the pain and through the sadness — not around or over it, but through it all. If you can bring yourself to trust me, and relax in me, and let me guide you, I can bring you to the very core and center of life.
“I can help you let go of what doesn’t matter. I can show you the joy of living in the present — even though your pains and troubles stay with you for the rest of your life. I can help you make your hurts grow into something new inside you.”
That’s what Jesus is talking about when he says, “Don’t be afraid.” He’s not promising to immunize us against life’s sorrows. He’s showing us how to take life’s sorrows and walk through them into whole new rooms in our souls — rooms we’d never even imagined before. He’s telling us that every single moment of life — no matter how traumatic and awful — can be a moment of value, a key to a new door … if we’re bonded to him and thus can draw upon his power.
So trust him; take his hand. Don’t run away, but walk through the “fire” with him. In the “fire” you’ll find what you needed to find, and there will be more to you … and more … and still more.
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Send Oh Lord Holy Apostles into your church“Christ has no body but yours, no hands butyours, no feet but yours.Yours are the eyes through which Christ’scompassion must look upon the world.Yours are the feet with which He is to go about
doing good.Yours are the hands with which He is to bless us now.”St. Theresa of Avila