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Monthly Reflection by
Fr. Augustine Vallooran VC
"I dwell with the crushed and the dejected“ (Is 57:15)

- Fr. Augustine Vallooran VC

Prayer of the Month

Monthly Reflections

The Patience of God - Fr. Augustine Vallooran V.C.

Let us reflect on Psalm 41:4-10 and pray:

As for me, I said, "O Lord, be gracious to me. Heal me for I have sinned against Thee. My enemies say of me in malice. When will he die? And his name perish? And when one comes to see me, he utters empty words while his heart gathers mischief. When he goes out, he tells it abroad. All who hate me whisper together about me. They imagine the worst for me. They say a deadly thing has fastened on him. He will never rise again from where he lies. Even my bosom friend in whom I trusted, who ate of my bread, has lifted his heel against me. But do thou, O Lord, be gracious to me."

O God, the pain of my heart I offer to You. In my heart, I gather all the pain and misery of all my brothers and sisters around me, in the world outside of me. The misery of being persecuted; the pain of being deceived; of being misunderstood; of being misinterpreted. They waste their life in anger and hatred. I turn to You, O God, and I pray that all of them may turn to You together with me. Have mercy on them and touch their hearts. Take away all that pain from their hearts. Let them be able to hope in You, O God! O God, it is only in You that I can trust - only in You! As the Psalmist says, "Even my bosom friend in whom I trusted has let me down." But O God, You give us the assurance that You will never let us down. You will never abandon us even if my mother forgets me and my father forsakes me. You will never forget. You will never forsake me. You are my Lord. You are my God. Have mercy on everyone who suffers unjustly and save them!

I was speaking to a businessman a little while back - he was a thriving businessperson. He told me, "Father, I am in trouble now because my partner deceived me." He trusted his partner so much that he virtually left his business to his partner to run. The partner used unjust and unfair means to make the business his own. The businessman said, " Father, I l have even lost my house. Soon I will have to vacate my house and my family will be in the street." The partner had filed a case against him with the help of a powerful politician. He was in tears as he continued, "Father, where am I to go? Where am I to take my family - into the streets? And why? Why did God do this to me? Why did this injustice happen to me? The whole world has turned against me. Maybe I was careless. I was lazy. I did not care. True - that is my sin but is this the way I am to be punished for me sin?"

This is a tragic story but it is not a one-time case. There are many such persecuted people around us - suffering unjustly. Perhaps the legal systems and political structures are against them and they cannot get justice from where they should be getting justice. It could be even your own personal story when injustice was done against you. Look into your past and you will know how your friends have cheated you. How people you trusted deceived you. How they let you down. We have been misunderstood and even our best intentions have been misinterpreted. People spread rumours and we wonder how they can fabricate such stories! How can they do this? Yet, it is all true. Things are going wrong with us.

If we look back into history, we find this happening all the time. What happened in Germany? The innocent people were exterminated - cruelly and ruthlessly. What happened in Soviet Union? Whenever, there is a revolution or wherever there is an uprising, often the poor and the innocent are the ones that suffer. This evil is not only a problem it is a scandal!

No wonder the Greek Philosopher, Epicurus, said, "A just God and unjust evil cannot co-exist." He framed an argument - "If a just God is existing and is in control, unjust evil cannot exist." But we know that unjust evil reigns in the world around us. Therefore, does this mean God does not exist? Perhaps there are many who follow this argument and even if we believe in God and trust in God, there are moments in our lives that we question, "Why is this injustice being done to me? To my family? Why is there so much suffering of the innocent in the world around us?

In The Gospel of Matthew Chapter 13, Jesus spoke of a significant parable - The Kingdom of God can be compared to a man who sowed good seeds in his field. But while the man was sleeping, his enemies came and sowed weeds among the wheat and went away. When the plants came up and bore grain, the weeds also appeared. The servants of the household came up and asked, "Sir, did you not sow good seeds in your field? How then does it have weeds?" He said to them, " An enemy has done this." The servants said to him, " Do you want us to gather them?" But he said, "No lest when you gather the weeds, you gather the wheat with them. Let them grow together till the harvest. During the harvest time, I will tell the reapers to gather the wheat first in my barn and to bind the weeds in bundles to be burnt."

This is a very significant parable - letting the weeds and the wheat to grow together! What was the reason the Master allowed the two to grow together? It is because if the weeds were gathered first, some harm could happen to the wheat. In the final reckoning, the weeds will be gathered and will be burnt - will be destroyed. But why allow the weeds and the wheat grow together? It is a strange logic if we think about our personal suffering.

Why can't God do something? Why is God so patient with the persecutors? With the unjust? With the corrupt? Why is God not punishing them? Can God not intervene and destroy every unjust person so as to keep away evil? So why is God not doing this? That is the Wisdom of God. Who am I to question God?

Pope Benedict XVI said something very beautiful during his Inauguration speech as he was taking over as the Shepherd of our Universal Church. He looked at the situation the world is in with all the evil, the corruption, the injustice in the world around him, which hurt him deeply, and he said, "God is patient." He continued to say, "We suffer on the account of the patience of God. We fail to understand Him - you and I." He said that we need to be patient with God. The brain does not understand why all this is happening in the world around us. As our Holy Father says, "Let us leave it all to the patience of God."

In fact, among the disciples of Jesus, there was a weed - Judas. So why was Jesus patient with him? St. John tells us that Jesus knew that Judas was stealing money from the purse of the company. When people contributed to the cause of Jesus, Judas was keeping all the money for them. But he was stealing - he was taking money out of it - Jesus knew that. Yet Jesus was patient with Judas. For that patience, He had to pay by being betrayed with a kiss. "My friend, why do you do this? Are you betraying the Son of Man with a kiss?" You and I, with our logic, with our impatience would say, "Oh! It is too late to ask that question." If Jesus had asked this question earlier, this man would not have done this. For His patience, Jesus had to pay and this is what God is.

Let us look at the cross. On the cross, the Lord was hanging for hours - struggling for breath; hands and feet nailed to the cross and He was exhausted - totally exhausted! He should have been dead long ago but Jesus opted to suffer that excruciating agony. Why did He prolong the agony for hours? Personally, I believe that Jesus was waiting for that thief to turn to him in repentance so that Jesus could save him. Jesus' agony finally succeeded! The man who wasted a whole life in sin and evil, was taken to Paradise with Jesus. The good thief turned to Jesus so that Jesus could save him at the end.

Often the patience of God does not succeed. In Judas's case, Jesus did not succeed. Yet God is in agony - wherever any innocent person is hanging on the cross; wherever a just person is being crucified; is being thrown in the street; is being hurt unjustly - with him and in him, Jesus is hung on the cross waiting for the persecutors to turn to Him so that He may save them. God loves the just and the unjust alike. Perhaps God likes the unjust more! Remember that Jesus said He would leave the 99 in the desert to go after the lost sheep. This is God and God is patient till the end.

Pope Benedict XVI said, "The ideologies of the world do not understand this. The ideologies of the powers of the world would exterminate anything that comes in their way but not God. God is patient." He also continued, " It is this Crucified Jesus who saved the world and not those who crucified Him." The ultimate victory is for God and we need to be patient with God. Often we are shortsighted and we want everything immediately. We want everything at the asking but God waits patiently.

Today let us understand this patience of God and offer to Him everything gone wrong with us and pray with the Lord, "Forgive them. Forgive every one who has persecuted me; who crucifies me; who betrays me." Even my bosom friend, as the Psalmist tell us, who turned against me, who betrayed me, who deceived me, "Lord, forgive them. Teach me to be patient as You are patient. Give me the grace to understand Your Patience, O God."

Let us pray:
O God, in the past, I have failed to understand Your Patience.
Give me Your vision - Your vision of eternity!
My vision is so shortsighted; I see only a few years and a few miles in front of me.
But You, O God, see a whole eternity in front of You.
Give me the vision and the grace to understand Your Patience.
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