There was a Christian woman – completely bedridden – but was always bright, cheerful, and optimistic
>> She was confined to her room because of illness.
>> She lived in an attic apartment on the fifth floor of an old, dilapilated building.
Her friend decided to visit her one day and brought along another woman – a person of great wealth.
>> Since there was no elevator, the two ladies began the long climb upward.
When they reached the second floor, the well-to-do woman commented: “What a dark and filthy place!”
>> Her friend replied, “It’s better higher up.”
When they arrived at the third landing, the remark was made: “Things look even worse here.” >> Again the reply, “It’s better higher up.”
The two women finally reached the attic level, where they found the bedridden lady.
>> A smile on her face radiated the joy that filled the heart of that disabled lady.
Although the room was clean and flowers were on the window sill…
… the wealthy visitor was just not comfortable with the stark surroundings in which the woman lived.
She blurted out, “It must be very difficult for you to be here like this!”
Without a moment’s hesitation, the bedridden woman responded:
>>”It’s better higher up!”
The lady had found the secret of joy: Not to find satisfaction at temporal things…
…but having the eye of faith fixed on the Eternal!
>> “It’s better higher up!”
Have we discovered the Joy of this Truth?
Every joy in life is accompanied by the companionship of some pain and suffering.
>> This is the reality of life.
Christian life is an affirmation of this reality.
>> The joy of being a Christian is accompanied by the cross of pain and suffering.
>> The delight in sharing Christ’s peace is escorted by the reality of some trials and tribulations.
The Gospel of the Day reminds us of this factor:
>> Experiencing the mighty power of God in the midst of weaknesses of life.
>> Experiencing the splendid joy of God in the thick of persecutions of life.
>> Experiencing the serene peace of God in the middle of terrors of life.
The Lord continues His discourse on the signs of the end times and the forthcoming persecutions that will be the lot of those who believe and follow Him.
Jesus doesn’t tone down in any measure in warning of the future calamities that will befall on His followers:
“They will seize and persecute you… They will hand you over to synagogues and prison…
They will lead you before kings and governors…
You will be handed over by your parents, brothers, relatives and friends…
You will be put to death… You will be hated by all…” (Lk 21: 12-18)
The list of persecutions is too long, right?
>> For those who consider Christianity as an easy stroll in the part, this is a shocker!
>> For those who consider following Christ as comfort on a bed of roses, this is a stunner!
Sometimes our faith in Christ remains merely a statement on paper.
As people who are Baptized – whether as infants or as adults – we’ve the duty to grow in the grace bestowed on us.
>> To follow Christ is a privilege granted to us.
>> To become His Disciples is a special opportunity conferred on us.
But we often squander away the blessings that the Lord gives us without realizing its worth.
As a Christian and a follower of Christ…
>> We love His blessings….
… but get depressed when pains or sufferings come our way.
>> We crave for joy…
… but get irritated when things don’t go in the way we wish.
>> We seek for a comfortable life…
… but get wild with Him when we lose some luxuries.
The Lord however, invites us to a life of deeper perseverance and courage: “By your perseverance, you will secure your lives” (Lk 21: 19)
For one who believes in Christ…
>> Every sickness, can be a moment to experience the Lord as a Healer.
>> Every financial crisis, can be a moment to experience the Lord as the Provider.
>> Every spiritual struggle, can be a moment to experience the Lord as the Saviour.
>> Every break in relationship, can be a moment to experience the Lord as the Unifier.
>> Every encounter in failure, can be a moment to experience the Lord as the Sovereign Lord
>> Every doubt of the future, can be a moment to experience the Lord as the Supreme Master
All these affirmations will remain peripheral and theoretical, unless we trust in the Lord.
>> Many might say….I don’t believe in a God who allows calamities and persecutions.
>> Many might complain… I don’t want a relation with a God who permits suffering and pains.
But this is where the challenge of our Baptismal Consecration comes to fruition…
> To be with the Lord, in total commitment, when the going gets tough.
> To remain united with the Lord, in complete faithfulness, when the road gets bumpy.
> To fix one’s eyes on the Lord, in absolute trust, when the skies are darkened.
In the words of Kahlil Gibran, the writer, “Out of suffering have emerged the strongest souls; the most massive characters are seared with scars”
>> Jesus has shown us the path in the Way of the Cross.
>> Jesus has broken Himself for us in the Holy Eucharist.
> In Him is True Life.
> In Him is Genuine Peace.
> In Him is Everlasting Happiness.
Let us hold firm to our Crucified Lord and persevere in faithfulness to our Persecuted Master.
Life may often blurt out statements like…
“It must be very difficult for you to be here like this!”
Without any sense of hesitation, let us boldly and with conviction and joy respond:
>>”It’s better higher up!”
Today let us seek the intercession of St. Catherine Laboure…
… the visionary who began the devotion to the famous Miraculous Medal of Our Lady of Graces worn by millions of people around the world.
(The oval-shaped medal – showing a circle of twelve stars, a large letter M surmounted by a cross, and the Sacred Heart of Jesus crowned with thorns and Immaculate Heart of Mary pierced with a sword – bears the words, “O Mary! conceived without sin, pray for us who have recourse to thee!”)
>> May we give heed to the call of this Saint to live a life of holiness and seek the Intercession of our Heavenly Mother.
Let us seek to find satisfaction not at temporal things…
…but always have the eye of faith fixed on the Eternal!
>> “It’s better higher up!”
God Bless! Live Jesus!