Monday 1 December 2014

Wednesday of Week 4 Year 1

Suffering is part and parcel of life. Before we were born, our mothers suffered labour pains and the pangs of childbirth. As we were growing up, we suffered growth pains such as our first attempts to walk only to fall down, possibly bump our heads or bottoms and cry, and then try again; the pain of our first teeth coming out, and we may have developed a fever and experienced great discomfort; and even the pain due to the consequence of our curiosity of touching something we should not be touching. We also suffered lost relationships such as the death of a loved one or when a loved one left us due to one reason or another. Indeed, we cannot avoid suffering, but what is more important is how we treat suffering. We could see suffering as a good or positive thing; or we could see it as a bad or negative thing.

In today's reading, we are reminded of the necessity and advantages of suffering. We are told: "Have you forgotten that encouraging text in which you are addressed as sons? My son, when the Lord corrects you, do not treat it lightly; but do not get discouraged when he reprimands you. For the Lord trains the ones that he loves and he punishes all those that he acknowledges as his sons. Suffering is part of your training; God is treating you as his sons. Has there ever been any son whose father did not train him? Of course, any punishment is most painful at the time, and far from pleasant; but later, in those on whom it has been used, it bears fruit in peace and goodness. So hold up your limp arms and steady your trembling knees and smooth out the path you tread; then the injured limb will not be wrenched, it will grow strong again."

We are all treated as sons and daughters of God, and when we suffer punishment from God, it is not because God does not like us or is out to get us. We are being trained to become better people, and we are growing closer to God. In this way, suffering ought to be seen as something good and worthwhile, for we are being prepared to remain happy and cared for in God's loving presence.

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