Guest Columnists

Be Patient With God

by Father John Catoir

I spoke to a group of first communicants recently, and at the end of Mass, I asked the entire congregation to give them a hand of applause. Everyone stood up and applauded.
I told children that they owed a debt of great gratitude to their parents, who not only feed, shelter and clothe them, but provide them with a spiritual foundation that is so important as the children begin their life’s journey.
I talked to the children about the importance of faith in navigating through the minefields of life as well.
I regretted later that I didn’t have time to tell them about one of the most difficult problems that a person of faith has to face now and then; namely, the silence of God.
Yes, prayer does work, and we need to rely on the Lord’s strength when troubles come our way, but sometimes we lose confidence when God doesn’t to come to the rescue right away.
Jesus felt this desolation on the cross: “My God, my God, why have you forsaken me?” (Mk 15:34).
One of our great spiritual writers, Meister Eckhart, said that there will be times when we will have to endure “suffering God.” By that, I believe that he meant that we should bear patiently with God, even when we do not fully understand God. Trust the Lord even though His silence baffles you.
The recently beatified Cardinal John Henry Newman wrote: “One little deed, done against natural inclinations for God’s sake … has in it a power out balancing all the dust and chaff of mere profession.” To remain uncomplaining, therefore, is an act of nobility. It means that a single action of trusting God’s love, based on faith, is far more meritorious than a long verbal profession of faith, and it can lead to trusting God under all circumstances.
Keeping the faith in spite of God’s periodic silence takes courage.
Believe that you are responsible for your thoughts and actions. Accept the fact that you are what you are today largely because of your own choices, good and bad alike. Therefore, as you move into the future, choose wisely and think wisely.
Feelings follow thoughts and lead to actions. The will says yes or no to each and every thought that you think. Thoughts come willy-nilly, but you must weed out those thoughts that sabotage your supreme purpose in life, namely, to save your soul.
Actions lead to habits; habits determine your character, and your character will shape your destiny.
Trusting the Lord in spite of His silence enables you to rejoice more when His mercy and goodness come through loud and clear.

Father Catoir writes a syndicated column for Catholic News Service.