“Not only that, but we even boast of our afflictions, knowing that affliction produces endurance, and endurance, proven character, and proven character, hope, and hope does not disappoint, because the love of God has been poured out into our hearts through the Holy Spirit that has been given to us.” –Romans 5:3-5
In the modern world, we have instant access to nearly anything this world says will make us happy. To avoid hunger, we order fast food at the click of a button on Grubhub. To avoid loneliness, we communicate online with friends via Instagram and Snapchat. To avoid uncomfortable introspection, we entertain ourselves by binge watching shows on Netflix. We often fill our lives with these activities because we despise discomfort.
Yet, our Lord Jesus Christ spent much of His time not just in discomfort, but in suffering. He endured horrendous anxiety that caused Him to sweat blood, mutilating scourgings that tore apart His back, a painful crown of thorns that bore into His skull, the shameful carrying of the cross to Calvary and ultimately, an agonizing death upon the cross. As Christians, we can learn from His life and set ourselves radically apart from this world by accepting– and even boasting of– our afflictions. Because of our eternal perspective, we know that our afflictions are temporary, and the glory which awaits us in heaven will far outweigh the pleasures of this world. We understand that true, lasting happiness will not necessarily be found in this life, but in the next. Christ teaches us not to avoid suffering, but to bear it with much faith, hope and love, as we await the final coming of our Savior.
This Lent, as we give up the pleasures of this world for our sanctification, let us remember the words of Pope Benedict XVI: “The world offers you comfort. But you were not made for comfort. You were made for greatness.”
We thank You, gracious God and heavenly Father, for the afflictions that You have given us. As we struggle through this life to love You and to grow in Christ-likeness, may we trust in You all the more because of our struggles. In the name of Christ, and by the power of the Spirit, we pray. Amen.
Passage for Further Reading:
About the Author:
Rebecca Grunkemeyer is a freshman at Vanderbilt studying Elementary Education/Child Development with a minor in French. She is excited to be confirmed in the Catholic Church this Easter!