CATHOLIC VALUES COLUMNIST
I’ve got news for you: life is tough. I look around at the world we live in, and some days I’m just filled with despair. Jesus Christ, the son of God, the maker of all creation, stepped into his own world 2,000 years ago and saved it from its own demise. And yet, 20 centuries later, no one seems to care.
Evil runs rampant. People disregard the Ten Commandments. They kill children in the womb. They divorce and remarry without batting an eyelash. Governments all around the world are corrupt and do not take care of the interests of their people. No one cares. Psalm 53:1 sums this up just about right: “They are corrupt, doing abominable iniquity; there is none that does good.”
And it does not just stop there. I think we are all aware, even in the back of our minds, that the world is filled with hate, and it is directed at people like us. We here at Franciscan boldly proclaim our faith in Christ in what we wear, in what we do and in what we say, and people take notice. And some are not pleased. Just look at all of the attacks on the faithful, like former president Obama’s HHS Mandate, which tried to force Catholics to pay for things against their faith, such as abortions and contraceptives.
I see all this, and I am truly filled with despair. Our God is a God of mercy and justice. He is loving and forgiving, but he is also just. One day he will judge the world, and will he be happy with what he sees?
Just thinking about this makes me sad and worried. But it will do no good to wallow in this sadness, as I have been finding out. We cannot allow ourselves to be brought down by this world, because we have a joy that is not of this world.
In the Gospel of John, when warning his Apostles about the suffering to come, Jesus Christ said, “Truly, truly, I say to you, you will weep and lament, but the world will rejoice; you will be sorrowful, but your sorrow will turn into joy” (John 16:20). Although our world is full of despair, in the end, we will have joy in Christ’s final victory. And even though now we have to go through this valley of tears, we do not have to do so tearfully.
While we are here on Earth, we need to try to face our sorrows with joy. Yes, we have our sad season of Lent, but we cannot forget Easter! Just as Lent points to Easter, all of our suffering is pointed at something else. Life was not made to be easy. We are allowed to go through hard times, and our suffering unites us to Christ.
In fact, that joy that comes from the expectancy of a future bliss is what helps us endure to the end. It is easy to get depressed when you focus on all of the hate that is flying at you simply for
being faithful. But when that focus is shifted ahead, towards the future triumph of Christ, it is so much easier to endure to the end knowing what joy the future holds.
Jesus Christ triumphed over death, and he did it with passion for us. So let’s give that passion back to him and go through life with a zeal for Christ. Although life is full of the sorrow of Lent, it is all in preparation for the paschal joy of eternity. And what do we have to do to receive it? Endure to the end. Endure the inner sadness and outward hate joyfully, and in return, receive an eternity of bliss.