EVEN IF WE feel we already are a hopeless case because we have been abusing the goodness and mercy of God countless times, we should never lose hope. God is always ready to forgive and forgive, ready to help us in any way we need. We should banish the fear that there can come a time when God would finally say, “That’s enough!” It’s rather us who tend to say, enough, because of our lack of faith and hope.
The mercy and compassion of God is endless. He may be mad at us for a while, and give us some punishment, but we can be sure that if are to abide by our Christian faith, we know that his anger will only be for a moment, while his mercy is forever.
And any temporal punishment he gives us will always be for our own good, our own purification and strengthening. It may help us to do some restitution, but it’s never a pure act of revenge.
We are reminded of this aspect of our Christian faith in that gospel episode where Christ freed a man who was possessed by a legion of evil spirits. (cfr. Mk 5,1-20) Despite his seemingly hopeless case, Christ helped and cured him.
This reminder about this virtue of hope is crucial these days since we cannot deny that many people today, especially the young ones, appear to be helplessly trapped in some addiction. Yes, the many intoxicating conveniences and advantages that our modern sciences and powerful technologies are offering are spoiling many of us, since we fail to use and enjoy them with God as the motive and goal. Instead, it is self-indulgence that is being always reinforced.
There is always hope because God is always a father who cares for all his children, both the good ones and the not so good ones. In fact, he gives some preferential attention to those in some difficulty, whether materially or spiritually and morally.
We need to avoid being swallowed up by the horror of our predicaments, difficulties and sins. We should not stop at lamenting and complaining. We have to remember what St. Paul once said: “Where sin abounded, grace did abound more exceedingly.” (Rom 5,20) And more, from the Book of Ezekiel: “Do I take any pleasure in the death of the wicked? declares the Lord GOD. Wouldn’t I prefer that he turn from his ways and live?” (18,23)
We have to reassure ourselves, based on what Christ has promised and has actually done for us, that there can be no crisis that is too big for the grace of God to handle.
We have to remember that nothing happens in this life without at least the knowledge and tolerance of God. And if God allows some really bad things to happen, it is because a greater good can always be derived from them.
We just have to put ourselves in God’s side to tackle whatever crisis plagues us. That is the real challenge we have to face. And just like what Christ did and continues to do to redeem us, we have to follow the formula he once spelled out: deny ourselves, carry the cross and then follow him. (cfr. Mt 16,24)
If we are willing to do that, then we can even gain a lot more than what we appear to lose and to suffer. In other words, we can say that the bigger, the more serious the problem, the bigger, plentier and stronger also would the grace God will give us. So, let us just be game and do our part of the bargain. There’s always hope for us! By Fr. Roy Cimagala (EV Mail January 23-29, 2023 issue)