[Sunday Reflections] Test yourself, but not Him

Readings for today: Genesis 2:7-9, 16-18, 25, 3:1-7; Romans 5:12-19; Matthew 4:1-11

For as by the disobedience of one man, many were made sinners; so also by the obedience of one, many shall be made just.

I hate feeling down and sad. Suffering and pain are not my friends at all.

I think that it would be absurd to people actually like to be in pain. Of course people want to be happy and to be able to go through life with relatively little suffering. It’s just who we are as humans – we want to be happy, and we deserve to be happy.

This was something that I had reflected on ever since Friday. Every Friday, I have the privilege to be part of a Discipleship and Accountability (DNA) session with other members of the Catholic Christian Outreach (CCO) family. We had a talk about suffering and how we all have  wounds, and how there is only one person that can heal us from these troubles. That person is Jesus.

Suffering is inevitable in our world, and whether we like it or not, we will encounter it at many different times and in many different situations. But it is how we come to heal from our suffering that makes the difference.

Our world has become very used to the instantaneous nature of just about everything – access to information, fast-forwarding through TV commercials, high-speed internet, instant food – that sometimes we forget to slow down and step back from it all. Particularly with our suffering, we tend to search around for temporary fixes – a bad habit, a hurtful relationship – to try to smooth over the incongruity inside of us that is caused by our suffering.

In St. Paul’s letter to the Romans today, we hear the ultimate love story of how Jesus paid the ultimate price for a population that owed the ultimate debt. It is true that through the actions of Adam and Eve we have become separated from God through sin, but they aren’t the only ones responsible. We have the opportunity to choose every day whether or not we want to follow or turn away from God. The sacrifice that Jesus made for us was an opportunity for us to have eternal life with God.

The act of disobeying God is the root cause of our suffering. When we find ourselves pushing back against God’s plans, we may find ourselves feeling lost and confused. Of course, with God being the ultimate lover of the world, He doesn’t force us to enter into that union with Him. He wants us to choose it for ourselves. He wants YOU to choose it for YOURSELF. 

It had taken me a long time to realize that I can’t make anyone fall in love with me. I can spend loads of money on the nicest clothes, the best hair and makeup, and live out a lifestyle that rivals that of celebrities. But none of that compares to the simple act of being yourself and opening up yourself to a relationship that focuses on Christ. In the same way that I can’t force people to fall in love with me, so too does God leave that element of choice up to us. Ultimately He knows what is best for us and will always be waiting for us to come back to Him.

Take the opportunity to test yourself. Extend yourself and surrender to Him. Let your hearts be opened to His path, and take that journey for yourself. But in the same way that Jesus did not test His father, so too should we have that level of faith that God knows what is best for us. He knows the inner most workings of our hearts, all of our fears, temptations and anxieties, and He is the ultimate source of happiness.

Finally, remember that you are beautiful and enough as you are. You are handsome and enough as you are. You are smart enough, funny enough, you ARE enough.

Mother Mary, pray for us.