Someone near to me whose name I will remain in anonymity, recently wrote this text after experiencing one of life’s difficult events. I want to share these words with whom it may concern. To put into context, the writer is someone whose thoughts are based on the Catholic faith.
Only by defeating obstacles can we develop our spirits to reach higher levels and finally climb the steep cliff to the summit.
However, there is one thing to this which I find very important. Nobody can avoid the difficulties God sends him or her, but it can be made very much easier by faith. Faith is like the life-saver you use in a shipwreck: when everything else fails and the ship is sinking taking everything with it to the depths of the ocean, the buoy you find floating in the high waves is your only chance to make the situation bearable and possibly survivable.
There is also a second aspect to this: if you have faith, you keep contact with Heaven. I have learnt to picture Our Lord, The Holy Trinity, The Holy Mother of God, all the saints and fortunate souls etc. who now inhabit Heaven and who are enjoying Paradise, as people you know and who know you, too, very well as is.. But the way you treat them may have a similar response as to how you treat your friends and acquaintances here on earth: if you treat a person or neighbor coolly, coldly or even outright unfriendly, the day you are in need and turn to him or her for help, what will his or her reaction be, do you think? Probably quite reserved, and if the person is a goodhearted individual (as are all the inhabitants of Heaven), he or she will finally pity your situation and give you a hand if possible.
However, if you have always treated people affectionately, admiringly, helpfully, cheerfully, and willingly, anybody is likely to respond to your cry for help quickly if not at once.
I picture our relationship with Heaven in the same way: if we have steadily praised God, Jesus, The Holy Spirit, The Holy Mother of God, the Saints, etc. and we have always insistently and uninterruptedly tried HARD to follow and apply the Ten Commandments, The Laws of the Holy Church, and especially the command Jesus Himself gave us: “Love thy neighbour“, then I feel pretty sure about one thing: when the ship sinks, God will answer your prayers in a different way. God’s Grace will overflow in times of difficulty and trial, and when the ship starts sinking, He might send you a lifeboat, not a lifebuoy, and that boat will have enough provisions to enable you to pass the storm and reach firm land.
Why otherwise are the prayers of the saints always answered? Why do we say about a holy man that “he is close to God”? Why do we turn to the Saints for help when in need? Obviously because we are quite certain in our subconscious minds that our past (and maybe unfortunately even present) does not justify a respectful and dignified approach to the top. The same thing happens on this earth: if you want to get to someone higher up whom you are not very familiar or acquainted with, you will probably ask someone you know, who is close to that man or woman, to put in a recommendation or at least a nice word for your cause, won’t you?
A third aspect on life’s difficulties is that God strengthens the faith of the individual to whom He sends sufferings or trials. I have found myself that the more you trust God in face of impossible situations, the sooner help is waiting for you. Death is the last train we all will have to take that will lead us to Heaven and the True Life if we have been faithful to Our Creator. Otherwise what will be waiting for us at the end-station of our lives is not the heavenly train but the toboggan that will rush us down the high-angled hill and over the cliff…
So, I have and am still learning to trust God in every aspect and every second of my life, no matter what difficulties I will have to face, and from the moment I made that decision of attitude and changed my religious life to actively follow the rules of our Catholic Church, every situation and person I come up against seem to have a smile saluting me. This, I think, is one of the millions of graces God bestows on us.