Today we begin the penultimate chapter (“Of the Few Who Love the Cross of Jesus”) of Book II of Thomas à Kempis’s The Imitation of Christ. Here he bemoans the fact that Jesus finds many followers when things are going well and consolations are abundant, but few who persevere during tribulations, abstinence, suffering, or adversity. Self-love and self-interest must be abandoned entirely in favor of God. To “love Jesus for Jesus’s sake,” per the headline, must be our disposition in all things.
As we did yesterday, we again look at Psalm 66 (8-9, 16-17, 20). This wonderful song of praise and thanksgiving is in response to God’s saving hand in the life of His people Israel.
Our challenge is to bear this attitude regardless of circumstances or consolations (human or divine). We must see the Lord’s will (ordained or permissive) in all things, be accepting of it, and be thankful for it. When using Catholic lenses it is possible to perceive this even in the most trying circumstances. Consider the most difficult or awful experience in your life and then try to discern the benefits that flowed from it. If you cannot, maybe now is the time to think about how you might turn that negative into a positive. There is an internet full of stories of folks who turned the most horrifying personal events into an opportunity for healing, ministry, self-discovery, and God-discovery.
God does not refuse prayer or his kindness, as the Psalmist chants. We are called to do the same for others, spreading the Good News, praising the Lord all the way.