Tuesday, 13 May 2014

Thoughts from the Chaplain: Transforming suffering!

On Tuesday of this week I had the privilege of presiding at the Mass of our Provincial Chapter. The night before Fr Wilfrid had handed over the office of Provincial to Fr Antony Lester. Tony had thanked Wilfrid very much for his gentle leadership over the past six years, which could not have been an easy time for him. Let us keep both of our brothers in our prayers.

What struck me in the readings of the day was St Stephen’s courage by which he addressed the people, the leaders and the scribes. Quite clearly a man filled with the Holy Spirit. He said “You stubborn people, with your pagan hearts and pagan ears. You are always resisting the Holy Spirit” and I thought “Food for thought here”. We might not be pagans, but how many idols are there in our life? And that surely is a way of resisting the Holy Spirit.

This made me think of Fr James McKarns’ reflection in Living Faith for this Sunday, the fourth Sunday of Easter. He reflects on how suffering can transform us. He writes “Whether physical, mental or emotional hurts, the better we endure the cross, the more Christ-like we become. Accepting suffering means not running toward it, but through it…Our Saviour has said we will save our souls through patient endurance.”

Let us remember our sufferings don’t have to be in vain. We can offer them up with Jesus, not just for our own good, but for the good of all.                                                                  

Fr Piet Wijngaard, O.Carm. 

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