When God tests us

HINTS AND TRACES - Fr. Roy Cimagala - The Freeman

Actually, our whole life here on earth is a test God gives us, to see if what he wants us to be, that is, to be his image and likeness, sharers of his divine life and nature is also what we ourselves would want to be.

Thus, we are given intelligence to enable us to know this truth about ourselves, and the will to enable us to freely choose to follow God’s will and designs for us or not.

We should therefore realize very deeply and abidingly that the main purpose of our intelligence and will is to comply with God’s will for us. Using them mainly for other purposes --personal, professional, political, etcetera-- would be misusing these God-given faculties of ours.

Of course, to pass the test we need to follow God’s will. That’s where we achieve our true and basic dignity as persons and children of God. That’s also where we find our true joy, where we use properly our intelligence, will, and other endowments, where we enjoy our true freedom.

But there are special occasions when this test God is giving us is quite clear and direct. We are reminded of this fact of life in the gospel of the Mass of Friday of the Second Week of Easter (cfr. Jn 6,1-15) where Christ tested his apostles if they could feed about 5,000 people with five barley loaves and two fish.

As the gospel narrated, Christ asked one of the apostles, “Where can we buy enough food for them to eat?” To which the apostle responded, “Two hundred days’ wages worth of food would not be enough for each of them to have a little.” The gospel noted that Christ said this to test his apostles.

When we find ourselves in some extraordinary difficulty, we should not hesitate to go to Christ. On these occasions, Christ is simply testing us. He knows what to do. We should just have faith in him.

Let’s beg him for help, but make sure that what should move us to do so is not so much to be rid of the difficulty as to believe in him as our savior, as our God in whose image and likeness we have been created.

In the end, we go to him to be like him, and not just for some self-interest or for some practical purposes.

We need to exert effort to have the proper intention whenever we ask some extraordinary favors from God. That’s because very often we are moved to run to God only for some practical motives.

We forget that in all our dealings with God, the main and constant reason is to adore him and to express our desire to be like him as he wants us to be.

We should be careful not to let our great difficulties set aside the main reason for asking favors from God. This is actually a big challenge for us, since with our tendency to consider only the here and now, we forget to pursue the real and ultimate purpose of our life.

This, of course, will require a certain discipline on our part. That’s why we need to avail of certain practices of piety that would constantly remind us of the main reason for any petitions we make from God.

This is a big challenge that would require us to be sober and to learn how to be contemplative even while we are in the midst of the ups and downs of our earthly life.

We have to broaden our understanding of the character and purpose of our life here on earth, and know the purpose, the causes, and the reason for our human predicaments.

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