Ad Majorem Dei Gloriam

Essential thinking for reading Catholics.

Tuesday, October 03, 2006

"This is a test. This is only a test."

If we accept -- and we ought -- that God is our teacher, we must also accept that we will be tested. Like a regular classroom teacher, we are tested for one reason only. To see what has stuck with us after all we have been taught.

Rummage through the Acts of the Apostles, 16:22-26:

"And the people ran together against [Paul and Silas]; and the magistrates rending off their clothes, commanded them to be beaten with rods. And when they had laid many stripes upon them, they cast them into prison, charging the jailer to keep them diligently. Who, having received such a charge, thrust them into the inner prison, and made their feet fast in the stocks. And at midnight, Paul and Silas praying, praised God. And they that were in prison, heard them. And suddenly there was a great earthquake, so that the foundations of the prison were shaken. And immediately all the doors were opened, and the bands of all were loosed."

Now, stop and ponder the following...if a Roman prison is a dank hellhole on a bright and breezy spring morning, what must it have been like at midnight AFTER you've had "stripes" beaten into you with rods and your ankles restrained by shackles? But Paul and Silas, instead of whining and moaning and complaining prayed and -- this is the key bit -- praised God. In the middle of a vicious persecution they made it a specific point to, in prayer, praise God.

The onus is on us, therefore, to see if when we are tested we make the same specific point to praise God. If we're paying attention, we learn from what happens to us during a test. We must give thanks to God for the opportunity even if all we'd prefer to focus on would be the scars of our beatings and the shackles around our ankles and the darkness of a repulsive prison.

I'm kinda going through something of a test* with a business project, an infinitely milder test than a bloody beating and shackling and imprisonment, and it's a point of effort to focus on giving God all the praise due Him always and everywhere.



*Any and all prayers for a successful outcome will be accepted with inexpressible gratitude and the deepest humility.


  • At 7:52 AM, October 04, 2006 , Blogger Veritas said...

    Very well put. I, myself am putting the wonderful spiritual direction received from you and Sr. I. into practice. Count on my prayers for a successful outcome to your own "beating and shackling".


  • At 8:57 AM, October 04, 2006 , Blogger Joe said...

    Here's what I've learned thus far in the last 23 hours: I still hold on to some vestiges (I leave it up to Him to determine the exact size thereof) of my sin of Pride.

    I didn't think I did. But that was part of the problem. I know now where I made some huge mistakes and where I got tripped up by my own sense of my own "wonderfulness."

    Which is humiliating, especially on the inside. Which is the bitter medicine I expect I needed. "Praise to you Lord Jesus Christ" for giving me what is good for me, not what tastes good.




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