Sunday, August 7, 2022

Our lives will come with afflictions that may challenge our faith and trust in God.

All of us, without exception, want our lives to be lived with a steadiness and calm right to the very end of our earthly existence.  While that is a thought that is nice to have, it isn’t something that can be taken for granted.  Inevitably, there will be challenges to our health and state of life where we may find ourselves questioning if God is indeed there for us and with us throughout our lives.  This is especially so if we have been taught from our youngest years that our lives are cared for by God and that we do not exist without the benefit of having God looking after us.  While that may be true, it doesn’t mean at all that God won’t permit us to suffer pains and afflictions in the course of our lives.  And when those afflictions come, it may make us wonder why it is that God allows such sufferings to happen in our lives, and further, to wonder if he really loves and cares for us as taught.  

In my time since the accident happened to me in May of 2021, the road to recovery has been one that hasn’t been as smooth and free of worries as I had hoped to be.  Yes, I have had my experiences of Leukemia in my past, but that didn’t make me wonder if God had stopped caring for me.  But in this 15 months of ultra slow recovery from the accident, to say that there have been ups and downs is to say the least.  One of my latest experiences of afflictions has been a sudden pain that has struck my right gluteus maximus, gluteus medius and tensor fasciae latae.  I guess it could be summarised by calling it a problem I am facing with my hamstrings.  I have been keeping an account of my thoughts about this affliction, and I noticed that instead of being steadfast in pursuing the therapeutic exercises that I was taught to keep my muscles strong and flexible, I had been pondering why it was that God allowed this to afflict me in my path toward full and functional recovery since the accident.  It’s as if things weren’t bad enough, that I had to be given this new set of afflictions to slow down my full recovery and going back to live in the parish.  

But on a larger scale of things, it shows that many, if not most of us, can take our health and state of life for granted.  We complain a lot and don’t take it well if things come into our lives that cause us to slow down and examine if the way we are living needs some improvement and steadiness.  Being ungrateful is a simple way of putting this.  No one should be ungrateful in life, but no one is really prepared to accept readily the pains and sufferings that life can present to us.  It is the same for our spiritual lives.  That path of life that is free from moral sins and temptations is never one that one naturally experiences in life.  As long as we are free from one form of mortal sin, there is always the next one to handle in life.  Saints are not people who are only free from temptations in life.  They are people who have fought the battle for moral rectitude well and courageously and have shown by their lives how to overcome the wiles of the devil and his minions.  A positive way of looking at life is to keep a constant contact with God and be always grateful for his care and concern for us, serving him, loving him, and glorifying him every single day of our lives, whether there are afflictions and tests in our lives or not.  This will shape and strengthen our spiritual path of life to get us ready in various ways to face anything that will come in life.  

One good thing to do in life is to never fail to be thankful to God for the blessings we have had in life.  Keeping our eyes on the blessings we have been grateful to receive help us to not be thrown into a tizzy when small afflictions take place in our lives.  There are always things to be grateful for in life, and we will be absent minded when we quickly say that there are no good things in life to be grateful for.  Mindfulness is the keeping of an account of how we have been blessed by God, and ingratitude is a hallmark of how weak and easily afflicted we can be when things come and confuse us, especially when they are unplanned and surprise us easily.

I know that many people have been praying for my quick recovery, and I am thankful for their prayers and their faith.  You who are reading this blog may be one of them, and I thank you for your faith and perseverance.  But I am not being ungrateful for your faith when I have sudden unplanned for afflictions like this sudden pain in my hamstrings.  I had to show up as a celebrant for morning Masses in my parish of the Immaculate Heart of Mary last week, and there were days when I was really tempted to use the help of my walking cane but thought that it would be a bit of a distraction for the congregants in the church so I endured the Mass with no aid of the cane.  But I do believe that with time and perseverance, the weakness in the hamstrings will be strengthened and I will overcome the pain.

Let this reflection remind my readers to never take for granted all the goodness and blessings that God has given to his beloved sons and daughters.  There are plenty of things to pray for each day, and if you happen to run out of things to pray for, pray for the grace of gratitude and thankfulness for all the goodness that God has given to you in life.  And may the grace of God be with you until the day when this earthly journey of life ends and God is summoning you to share with the saints and angels the everlasting glory of eternal paradise.