Thursday, 8 August 2013


“It’s good to be here!”   That how we feel when we’re enjoying a holiday.  We’re glad to get away from our daily routine. We welcome the break.  The company’s good; so too the scenery, the accommodation and the food.  We enjoy relaxing on a beach, sight-seeing or shinning up a mountain.  At least for a while, we are at ease with ourselves and content with the world. For a time we can put aside our daily cares and relax.
That’s how Peter, James and John felt on the Mount of the Transfiguration.   True, this was no holiday break. It was something much, much better.  There, on the Mount, Jesus revealed something of His divine glory. As they relaxed with Him they experienced something of the heavenly joy to which God has called us –the sublime happiness of resting in the Lord.
No wonder Peter exclaimed, “Lord, it is good to be here!”  No wonder he wanted to prolong the wonderful experience of the Transfiguration.  We are so like him when we want a holiday never to end, or never to be separated from someone dear to us.  That’s how I feel when my twin brother has to return to the W. Indies, after an all-too brief holiday together.
During these musings on the feast of the Transfiguration my mind leapt off at a tangent.   It often does!  What, I wondered, about the times and situations, which are far from idyllic?   Given the choice, we would much prefer to be elsewhere, doing something else.    Instinctively we think, “It’s not good to be here; I wish I were somewhere else, doing something different.”  We’ve all felt like that!
I’ve found that if I allow that kind of resentment to persist I will always be miserable.   Far better to come to terms with what can’t be changed and try to make the best of it.   That can even be true when things go wrong, say, if we become ill, or our bosses move us from a job we enjoy to doing to something else, in another place we may not like.  That hurts, and it would be dishonest to deny the pain.  But that happens to all of us.  It’s certainly part of our Dominican vocation to be moved from house to house or country to country, job to job.
When things go wrong, have you had some well-intentioned person try to comfort you with the words, “It must be God’s will.”   I have, when I’ve been very ill -and it’s made me furious!   I can’t believe that a loving God could be vindictive and delight in my pain. But I can and do believe that He wants me to turn what in itself is so negative and destructive into something positive and creative.   That was certainly true of Christ’s crucifixion, through which He saved us from the power of sin and death.
Only in this sense can I agree that my suffering and pain must be God’s will.   He wants to help me to turn that into an opportunity for growing closer to Him. Almost certainly, only the wisdom of hindsight will enable me to say that it was good for me to be in that chaotic, painful situation.  In the meantime, part of my suffering lies in having to live in a fog of confusion and misunderstanding.  That in itself can be good for me –if it forces me to place my trust in God’s loving care for me, when I can’t understand what’s happening to me.

Hopefully I will have the docility to say, “Thy will be done” –and mean it.  Hopefully, with God’s help, even the most uncomfortable situation can become an opportunity for me to grow closer to God. I must trust that that is where He wants me to serve Him, and that He judges that is best for my eternal salvation. If so, it’s good for me to be there, in that situation –even, or perhaps especially, when I’d rather be somewhere else, doing something different. 

St. Paul reassures us, “We know that all things work together for good* for those who love God, who are called according to his purpose,” (Rom 8. 28).  God can give us the serenity to identify with the imprisoned Paul, who could write, “I know what it is to have little, and I know what it is to have plenty. In any and all circumstances I have learned the secret of being well-fed and of going hungry, of having plenty and of being in need.  I can do all things through him who strengthens me”  (Philippians 4. 11-13).   Such trust in God can give us the confidence to say, “Lord, it is good to be here” –in whatever situation we find ourselves!

Isidore O.P.     

The next posting will be on 23rd August.

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