if you aspire…

It’s Monday morning.

As you head to a new work week, yesterday’s “take up your cross” gospel reading might well express your feeling.

For all of us work has it’s tough moments. Sometimes the burden of our jobs threatens to sap our strength and deplete our joy robbing us of a healthy perspective. For some people every moment of a work week is tough and work is the suffering to be endured to enable us to live.

Those who follow Christ are not free from this burden. There is a logic to this of course. Christ endured suffering and death, and we are the followers of Christ.  The idea that life with Christ is nothing but a blissful existence is a fantasy that denies the reality of sin.

However there is real hope. The one who seeks intimacy with Christ realises that our greatest human desire is not to be free from suffering, but to journey together living in hope.

We experience this in our human relationships. Living together through tough times and in difficult circumstances is not easy, but neither is it without joy and intimacy. Very often real friendship and joy ripens in such an environment.

The circumstances we experience, even and especially those that are most difficult for us, are really an opportunity for us to move towards mature intimacy both with God and with other people . This is the heart of the adventure of human life.  As Pope Francis wrote to last week’s Rimini meeting:  “We are not allowed either to watch reality from the balcony, nor to sit comfortably on the couch to watch the world pass by on TV.”

Pope Francis then reminded us not to be “taken aback by difficulties and suffering.”

As I reflected on yesterday’s scriptures another passage of scripture came to mind, from Sirach (Ecclesiasticus) chapter 2.

“My child, if you aspire to serve the Lord, prepare yourself for an adventure. Be sincere of heart, be steadfast, and do not be alarmed when disaster comes. Cling to him and do not leave him, so that you may be honoured at the end of your days. Whatever happens to you, accept it, and in the uncertainties of your humble state, be patient, since gold is tested in fire, and the chosen in the furnace of humiliation. Trust him and he will uphold you, follow a straight path and hope in him.”

Have a blessed week!



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