From the desk of Father Will
Jul 6, 2018
As the old adage goes, there’s two seasons in Wisconsin: winter and road construction.
Having moved from the seminary in St. Francis to the rectory in Wauwatosa I thought that I would have a much easier time getting to my parents’ house in Brookfield. It was supposed to be a straight shot down North Avenue from 92nd Street to about Brookfield Road, make a couple of turns, and voilá, I’ve arrived. About a week before I moved in I realized that there was a kink in my plan that takes the form of about sixteen blocks of orange barrels turning North Avenue between Mayfair and 124th Street from a major thoroughfare into a congested two lane road.
Sometimes our lives can resemble my well-developed plan –convenient, quick, anxiety-free, and painless. The reality is that real life does not play out exactly as we strategize. Stuff happens not as we want, but as God allows it. Suffering was, is and will always be a part of this life. What matters is how we handle that suffering. Will we joyfully accept it as a gift from God to be united more closely to Jesus Christ in his passion and grow closer to perfection as Christians? Will we accept the cross as an instrument of our salvation and call upon the Father for strength? Or will we complain, sulk, fight, and kick and scream (honk our horns) until it goes away?
To follow the Way of the Cross and suffer well requires us to dig deep and live with gratitude, perseverance, forgiveness and other human virtues in the face of what causes us pain, but more importantly, we cannot do it without the supernatural virtues that only God grants us: faith, hope and charity. Through the grace of God all difficulties and suffering can be overcome. Live with the faith that God is present (and closer than ever) in suffering, hope that in eternal life with God there is no pain and trust that God’s love is infinite and unending.
Practically speaking, there are a couple of means at our disposal to handle suffering. One of these is prayer. If we are to live with faith, hope and love, then we need to ask for it. Ask for the grace to overcome the temptation to despair. Another means is to seek someone to talk to about the suffering. Seek out someone for support and feedback. Be willing to give of your time to those who need a listening ear.
Sooner or later the orange barrels will come down and North Avenue will be open for traffic to flow through and that will be a great day for commuters. But remember, there are two seasons in Wisconsin: road construction and winter. Remain close to the Lord and He will guide you through all things.