From the Eparchy of Passaic
A Message from Bishop Andrew
From a recent The Shepherd Speaks... [Eastern Catholic Life - newspaper of the Eparchy of Passaic], The Pastoral Reflections of Bishop Andrew.
As we go through life we experience pains, hurts, sorrows and grief. We can accept them or resent them. If we accept them we bear them with courage and patience and we can even profit by them. If, however, we resent them we can easily become bitter and cynical about everything.
We can become envious and hate others for the happiness they have. Resentment will not heal us of our pain, instead, it will destroy our relationship with God our loving Father. In this light, we can even grow to see God as unjust and cruel. Our questions will be, "Why should this happen tome? What have I done that God should punish me in such a manner?" The resentful person rebels against God. Our Lord and Savior said that the kingdom of God is within us, but we must remember that the kingdom of hell can be there, too.
Circumstances alone do not make us happy or unhappy. The way we react to these circumstances determines our happiness. In all the suffering experience throughout life we can react in one of two ways: either we can accept or we can resent.
As Christians we must accept our, pain, hurt, sorrow and grief and say to ourselves, "It is so, it cannot be otherwise." As we reflect on our own lives, we are aware that we encounter many situations that cannot be otherwise, such as accidents and illness, privations and disappointments, separations and bereavements, the results of our many mistakes and personal sins. We say to ourselves, "Well, that is the way things are," and patiently and courageously we must face and accept them. We should endeavor to adjust to them; to refuse to be overwhelmed by them; and above all, as far as we can, to profit by them. We are stronger than we think, and we have hidden, God-given resources of strength and courage which will carry us through our difficult times. Let us not react to our many difficulties of pain, sorrow and grief with resentment or self-pity, but with acceptance.
Christian acceptance means more than just, "It is so." We must learn from the example of Mary the Mother of God, as we read in the Gospel of Saint Luke, regarding the announcement of the birth of our Lord and Savior, "The angel went onto say to her, ‘Do not fear, Mary. You have found favor with God. You shall conceive and bear a son and give Him the name Jesus.’ And Mary said to the angel, ‘How can this be since I do not know man?’ The angel answered her, ‘The Holy Spirit will come upon you and the power of the Most High will overshadow you; hence the holy offspring to be born will be called Son of God.’" Mary in complete resignation and acceptance said, "I am the servant of the Lord. Let it be done to me as you."
In the same Gospel, our Lord and Savior, prayed as He experienced the agony in the garden, "Father, if it is Your will, take this cup from Me; yet not My will but Yours be done." Our acceptance must be the willing submission to God’s will. It is, above all else, God’s will for us to have happiness - both here and in the age to come. God’s will, however, is often obstructed. Saint Luke also speaks of Christ’s lamentation over Jerusalem which obstructed God’s will, "Coming within sight of the city, He wept over it and said, ‘If only you had known the path to peace this day; but you have completely lost it from view!’" (Luke 19: 4 1-42)
Christian acceptance of whatever God wills or permits can bring us true peace. To prepare our-selves to accept the many heavy burdens of pain, suffering, sorrow and grief that will confront us as we journey through life, let us begin now to patiently accept the small everyday difficulties, annoyances and frustrations.
For the bishop, as God’s steward, must be blameless; he must not be arrogant or quick-tempered or addicted to wine or violent or greedy for gain; but he must be hospitable, a lover of goodness, prudent, upright, devout, and self-controlled. He must have a firm grasp of the word that is trustworthy in accordance with the teaching, so that he may be able both to preach with sound doctrine and to refute those who contradict it.
— Titus 1:7-9
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Circumstances alone do not make us happy or unhappy. The way we react to these circumstances determines our happiness.
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