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"And I beheld, and heard the voice of one eagle flying through the midst of heaven,
saying with a loud voice: Woe, woe, woe to the inhabitants of the earth....
[Apocalypse (Revelation) 8:13]

Sunday, December 4, 2016

Fr. Voigt, "The Power of Tribulation"

Fr. Voigt, "The Power of Tribulation"
Coaches challenge their teams with the statement:  "No pain, no gain."  Wonder of wonders this very truth is used by God in the very preparation for the coming of the Babe of Bethlehem.  Today tribulation is exposed and its value is embraced by none other than the "Lamb of God".  Two of John's disciples come to Jesus to ask the question of their master:  "Are you He Who is to come or do we look for another?"  Our Lord answers with situations of tribulation: blindness, deafness, leprosy, poverty, death.  All of this that we might come to know of the power of tribulation.  So we might meditate upon the power of this state of being considering the sevenfold strength of times of tribulation. 

In the first place when one is in a period of prosperity one is blind to one's own nature.  The person easily becomes self satisfied and confident that he can handle any opposition.  Spiritually during consolation one should recall the times of desolation in order not to give in to pride.  So tribulation's first power is to give us true insight into the our weak and fallen human nature.  We need the tribulation to see clearly and to come to the realization that 
of ourselves we can do nothing.  Our strength is not our own.  Once tribulation moves us out of our complacent and comfortable existence it takes us to its second power.

Now we come to the power of detachment.  Everything and everyone is passing.  Nothing in this world satisfies the soul which was created for eternal life.  All our affections for this world and its goods becomes a real con game distracting us from our true purpose:  to return home to our Father.  Tribulation stripes us our false gods and beckons us to put our hands in the hands of the Crucified.  Hence the third power of tribulation comes upon 
the soul.

By nature tribulation tears apart the temptations so common to our human nature:  pride and its expressions. We think we own ourselves and our talents.  The common illusions is to believe that we are beautiful, competent, better than others, etc.  Tribulations frees us of these temptations and leads us to recognize where all good things come from and we know that it all belongs to God.  Hence the power of tribulation to expose our sins and to teach us what to do with them.

Our difficulties and sorrows are not to be wasted on self pity but they are to be used in order to make atonement to God for our sins.  It is said that God heals us as He wounds us.  Thus tribulation is God's medicine cabinet in which He heals the wounds that sin has placed upon our souls.  Should we complain about this most efficacious ointment?
The Divine Physician knows exactly what we need to sanctify our souls.  

Consequently, tribulation guides to the very Person of God.  The marines under fire realize that there is no atheist in a foxhole.  In fact, the more significant the tribulation the more it leads us to lean on God.  In this position we find out how dependent we really are.  We could have been killed but God brought us through the trial because He is not finished with us yet.  Truly the soul comes to the truth that tribulation is needed in order to gain merit.

Merit is a power which every martyr testifies to through their suffering.  Consider Fr. Miguel Pro commanding his executioners to "kneel down to receive my blessing"!  Those soldiers, but for the commandant, knelt before the courageous priest and received his last blessing.  If you take away the tribulation then you will remove the glory that that suffering offers the soul.  What a loss of merit if we did not have the suffering of the North American 
martyrs or the Thomas Mores.  Really, every time we suffer any difficulty we are being offered a chance to share in the martyr's crown.  Martyrdom is the key to the soul's existence.  We can either be "white" martyrs (i.e. martyrs of duration) or "red" martyrs (i.e. martyrs of intensity).  

All tribulation has been summarized by the eight beatitudes that Our Lord pronounced upon a mount.  These be-attitudes purify and prepare the soul for the ecstasy of Divine Love.  If one follows the pattern of the saints then the soul gains as the body loses.  Also the body gains when the soul loses.  The soul requires the body that it might conquer its passions and amass the merit for salvation.  This is why St. Paul points out the conflict between the soul and the body.  Today John the Baptist teaches his disciples that Christ is He Who is 
to come.  There is no need to seek another for in Christ all tribulation is empowered to bring each of us to the kingdom of God.  

Therefore, the spiritual principle that can make you a saint is:  Never complain.  Our Father knows what each of  us needs to become the saint he has designed us to become.  Our Lord did not release John the Baptist from prison but instead praise the work of God in this greatest of all prophets.  Who knows the mind and the plans of God for us.  Never complain for the providence of God is at work.  This is the mentality needed for the sufferings
that come our way:  Have confidence in the Providence of God.  Trust Him.

In the hearts of Jesus, Mary and Joseph,

Fr. Richard Voigt 

TradCatKnight Radio: "Fr. Voigt, Obstacles to Holiness"