August 25, 2019
Dear Visitors and Parishioners,
How do, we reconcile the God of Mercy and, Compassion, especially when we hear: "Blessed be the God and Father of our Lord Jesus Christ, the Father of mercies and the God of all comfort, who comforts us in all our tribulation” (2 Cor. 1:3), with the God who chastises?
"God deals with you as with sons,” and you could not say, we cannot bear it: yes, as with sons tenderly beloved. For if they reverence their fathers of the flesh, how shall not you reverence your heavenly Father?
However, the difference arises not from this alone, nor from the persons, but also from the cause itself, and from the fact. For it is not on the same grounds that He and they inflict chastisement: but they [did it] with a view to what seemed good to them, that is, fulfilling [their own] pleasure oftentimes, and not always looking to what was expedient. But here, that cannot be said. For He does this not for a y interest of His own but for you, and for your benefit alone. They [did it] that you might be useful to themselves also, oftentimes without reason; but here there is nothing of this kind. Do you see that this also brings consolation? For we are most closely attached to those [earthly parents], when we see that not for any interests of their own they either command or advise us: but their earnestness is, wholly and solely, on our account. For this is genuine love, and love in reality, when we are beloved though we be of no use to him who loves us- not that he may receive, but that he may impart. He chastens, He does everything, He uses all diligence, that we may become capable of receiving His benefits.
- St. John Chrysostom
Our consolation and comfort is not in the feeling of pain or pleasure, but in true joy that comes from knowing that God has no other interest in us but our true good. That is true love when one seeks the good of another without personal interest.
We must be wary when we see God as one that punishes us into sub mission, making God into a tyrant. The chastisement we receive is not simply something for us to change behavior, but is to make us reliant upon the grace of God and the strength that He supplies, and therefore be open to the benefits God wishes to bestow on us. When we are op pressed by trials, we experience our littleness and our recognition that in comparison to God we are like children: often helpless to the frustrations of life. It is at that moment; we should realize we are in the correct frame of mind: that of a child before God. Therefore, when we feel oppressed, know that the Lord is training us to lean on Him and to trust in his will.
-Fr. Nicholas Reynolds, O.P.