Why must we have trials and difficulties? Why does the path of life often seem so difficult, so lonely or so hopeless? Why does it seem to much like we have lost our way?
Three quotations from Thomas A Kempis from the Imitation of Christ will serve to answer these questions:
"We should undoubtedly see the help of God come in our need, for He is always ready to help all who trust in Him. An He brings about occasions for such battles so that we may overcome and win the victory, and in the end have the greater reward."
"It is good that we sometimes have griefs and adversities, for they drive a man to behold himself and see that he here but as in exile, and to learn thereby that he ought not to put his trust in any worldly thing. It also is good that we sometimes suffer contradiction, and that we be thought of by others as evil and wretched and sinful, though we do well and intend well; such things help us to humility, and mightily defend us from vainglory and pride."
"Therefore, a man ought to establish himself so fully in God that, whatever adversity may befall him, he will not need to seek any outward comfort."
God gives us these battles so that we can win the victory. What a profound thought!
We must remember that victory comes not through our own strength, intelligence or goodness from a prayerful reliance on God guiding our action. We are meant to persevere in prayer with confidence in the victory. There have been innumerable times in history where this has been shown. Where prayer, humble yet full of confidence, has open the doors to a victory that should not have been otherwise possible.
We celebrate one such victory today. The Feast of the Holy Rosary. The 449th anniversary of the Battle of Lepanto. Due to the power and confidence in the rosary, the course of European history was changed as the Turks were pushed back from their centuries long onslaught of Europe and the Mediterranean.
When the road ahead is unknown, when our view is shielded by fog, when all seems lost and that we are walking alone, that is when we need to turn to the intellectual life of faith. Yes, faith is part of the intellectual life. It is our rational mind that leads us down the path of faith and not the heart. We reason and discern the reality of God and then act in accordance with that decision.
When life becomes difficult, when we FEEL as though all is lost or that we are walking alone, we are being given the opportunity to rely, with faith, on the knowledge of God without the crutch of sensible feelings. We KNOW what to do. We know to pray. We know to study our faith. We know to fast and do penance. We know to pursue virtue. These acts all become more valuable when we do them out of knowledge that they are right even if our feelings tell us otherwise. Feelings change. Allow your intellect to guide your will.
Don't give up! Catholics are at their best when all seems lost! Now is our time!
Pray your rosary. Know that God has placed us in these troubled times SO THAT WE CAN WIN!
THIS IS OUR TIME!