St Francis Q&A

Tuesday, April 03, 2007

"For whom the Lord loves, he disciplines"

In the past and especially recently, we have had at least one blogger who has had great difficulty coming back to the Church after years of being away. He (or she) is trying to follow Christ but does not seem to experience His presence anywhere. He hasn’t experienced God’s grace, it seems, and has been questioning for a long time if God will ever reveal Himself in his life. It might have been him who asked the other day, “does God punish people for their sins by keeping them from receiving grace for a period of time or for their whole earthly life?”

I have been thinking and praying a lot about this blogger’s situation (for a long time, actually), and hope that he finds Christ’s peace. The past two days, especially, while reading the letter to the Hebrews in the Office of Readings, this struggling Anon has come to mind.

Anon, hope this helps:

Hebrews 10:
“Remember the days past when, after you had been enlightened, you endured a great contest of suffering. At times you were publicly exposed to abuse and affliction; at other times you associated yourselves with those so treated. You even joined in the sufferings of those in prison and joyfully accepted the confiscation of your property, knowing that you had a better and lasting possession. Therefore, do not throw away your confidence; it will have great recompense. You need endurance to do the will of God and receive what he has promised."

Hebrews 12:
“In your struggle against sin you have not yet resisted to the point of shedding blood. You have also forgotten the exhortation addressed to you as sons: ‘My son, do not disdain the discipline of the Lord or lose heart when reproved by him; for whom the Lord loves, he disciplines; he scourges every son he acknowledges.’

Endure your trials as ‘discipline’; God treats you as sons. For what ‘son’ is there whom his father does not discipline? If you are without discipline, in which all have shared, you are not sons but bastards. Besides this, we have had our earthly fathers to discipline us, and we respected them. Should we not (then) submit all the more to the Father of spirits and live?

They disciplined us for a short time as seemed right to them, but he does so for our benefit, in order that we may share his holiness. At the time, all discipline seems a cause not for joy but for pain, yet later it brings the peaceful fruit of righteousness to those who are trained by it.
So strengthen your drooping hands and your weak knees. Make straight paths for your feet, that what is lame may not be dislocated but healed. Strive for peace with everyone, and for that holiness without which no one will see the Lord."


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