Wednesday, 9 April 2008

Suffering, or Miracle-Working?

Every morning my dear husband reads a page from a book entitled "A Year with the Saints" published by Tan, which he found in a souvenir shop in Lourdes. The readings are wonderful, and the excerpts from the Saints' lives and speech are inspiring.

I often think of the debates that are had in blogland. There was one blogger who liked to pop in to Catholic blogs and put in his (Ex-Catholic, now Evangelical Protestant) penny's worth in the comments boxes. He frequently berated Catholics, particularly those who liked to attend the Extraordinary Form of the Mass, for not performing miracles, whilst he claimed he, and his charismatic friends were causing miracles left right and centre, even raising people from the dead. He also took exception to the Catholic acceptance of suffering.
This morning's reading seemed very appropriate to this debate - it is from St. John Chrysostom, who lived from about 347 until his death in 407 AD.

"If the Lord should give you power to raise the dead, He would give much less than He does when He bestows suffering. By miracles you would make yourself debtor to Him, while by suffering He may become debtor to you. And even if sufferings had no other reward than being able to bear something for that God who loves you, is not this a great reward and a sufficient remuneration? Whoever loves, understands what I say."
The Saint set such a high value on suffering that he even said: "I venerate St. Paul not so much for having been raised to the third heaven, as for the imprisonmment he suffered. And so, if I were asked whether I would be placed in Heaven among the angels, or in prison with Paul, I would prefer the latter. And if it were left to my choice whether I should be Peter in chains, or the angels that released him, I would certainly rather be the first than the second."

Now there's a saint who goes back a long way, so our Catholic view of suffering isn't all a Mediaeval invention, after all! (As our Protestant friend would claim).

Now all I need is the grace to be able to stop waiting for miracles to happen, and just get down and accept all that suffering that I get thrown at me, with a great big, Thank You Jesus!


Lydia said...

Fantastic post! So, so true!

Alexa <*}}}>< said...

Ooooh! I like those quotes, Elizabeth!

Wow. Powerful stuff.


James M said...


WhiteStoneNameSeeker said...

That's a beautiful quote from The Golden Mouth (truth is always beautiful I suppose).
I think I will keep it somewhere. Crosses can be heavy at times and it will remind me.
God bless