"We also glory in tribulations, knowing that tribulation produces perseverance." -- Romans 5:1-5
IN THE SEPTEMBER 14 READING of Our Daily Bread, Richard De Haan wrote:
A young Christian went to an older believer and asked, "Will you pray that I may be more patient?" So they knelt together and the man began to pray, "Lord, send this young man tribulation in the morning; send him tribulation in the afternoon; send -- " Just then the young believer blurted out, "No, not tribulation! I asked for patience." "I know," said the wise Christian, "but it's through tribulation that we learn patience."
The word perseverance in today's Scripture (Romans 5:1-5) can mean the ability to remain steadfast under difficulties without giving in. John A. Witmer wrote, "Only a believer who has faced distress can develop steadfastness. That in turn develops character."
TODAY'S THE FIRST SUNDAY of Advent -- a day of recollection for a good friend. Will be doing mine two Sundays later at St Ignatius. And might join that friend for another one with the Secular Franciscan Order the following Sunday.
Providentially, had an illuminating conversation with this friend last night. She was sharing with me some insights gained during a retreat she made with an Ignatian priest in Chiang Mai, Thailand; how she was given a Humility prayer at the end of the retreat -- reminded me of the message i got at the end of my retreat (Meek and Humble of Heart). And she was fore-warned of the risks that she would be facing should she actually say the prayer. To paraphrase with the words of another, "Be careful what you ask from God!"
Upon deeper reflection, she decided to take the risk. Afterall, according to Matthew 7:9-11, didn't Jesus say, "Which one of you would hand his son a stone when he asks for a loaf of bread, or a snake when he asks for a fish? If you then, who are wicked, know how to give good gifts to your children, how much more will your heavenly Father give good things to those who ask him."
True enough, days after saying that prayer, she had a few humiliating experiences. And with God's grace, she was able to take them all in her stride.
Again, this reminded me of my own personal experiences. So many things have happened over the past few months since my retreat in May. Among them, a significant number of humiliating incidents that point over and over again to Jesus' message, "Take my yoke upon you and learn from me, for I am meek and humble of heart".
Talk about praying dangerously...