Today our first reading continues in the Book of Romans, chapter 8.
There’s one verse that always gives me reason to pause: “I consider that the sufferings of this present time are as nothing compared with the glory to be revealed for us.” (Rm 8:18) Hmmmm…..
I put this scripture in the category of “If I really believe what I believe, then why don’t I live that way?”
I’ve just gotta face the fact: I really stink at suffering, and fundamentally, it reflects a lack of faith.
I get it all from a theological perspective. I get it in theory. In my mind, I embrace its truth. But when the rubber meets the road, it’s just not so easy. I complain and grumble under its weight, losing the opportunity to grow in grace. Like St. Paul says in the previous chapter, “I do what I don’t want to do, and I don’t do what I want to do.” (Rom 7:15) It’s the constant battle between the flesh and the spirit, the human and the divine.
It strikes me that little sufferings borne well prepare us for greater ones. If in the ordinary moments of our lives we can face uncertainty, endure pain, hold our complaints, bear insults, forgive those who hurt us, and love the unlovable, then in so doing we practice growing in virtue on a daily basis, and greater sufferings will not crush us in our human nature.
This, I believe, is the narrow gate about which Jesus speaks in Matthew (7:13-14) – choosing to grow in virtue in every given moment of each day, keeping in mind the “glory to be revealed to us.”
The writings of the mystics show us a glimpse of that glory, and repeatedly they tell us we cannot imagine it. Perhaps that’s part of the secret – to spend time thinking about heaven, its love, its completeness, and its peace.
Maybe then we will be better able to choose the narrow gate.
Jesus I Trust in You! Anne