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God's grace looks more like the Cross, and less like human success

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It hurts so much, since we are but fragile human beings, to see some of our Catholic-Christian brothers and sisters flourishing in temporal success, while attributing their success to God. Don't get me wrong. All good things come from God, and, moreover, God wants for our eternal happiness. But this irrational, un-Biblical, and non-Catholic way of thinking implies, without direct thought, that temporal failure, or temporal persecution, has to do with unfaithfulness to God. What's even worse, is when failure and/or persecution are attributed to the Will of God.

Jesus suffered on the Cross--not out of sinfulness, but out of Love. The Father Willed it, not out of vengeance, but out of Mercy.

The Cross is the invention of the human person. God did not create this evil (nor any evil), but allowed it to bring about a greater good.

And that is why grace looks more like the Cross, and less like human success.

"For if the just one be the son of God, he will defend him and deliver him from the hand of his foes." Wisdom 2:1, 12-22

The greatest hoax perpetrated by the devil is to hide the necessary reality of the Cross.

Catholic-Christians who think that prayer will bring magical relief from real life suffering are missing the point. When Jesus cried, 'Eloi, Eloi, Lama Sabachthani,' this was His humanity crying for understandable relief. But Jesus, in His Divinity, embraced the Cross out of Love for us, dying heroically, in His Humanity, for our salvation.

Now don't get me wrong, miracles are real...but rare. God respects both the Laws of the Physical Universe He created and the free will of the human persons He so Loves. But most of all He has a plan for our suffering.

"The LORD is close to the brokenhearted; and those who are crushed in spirit he saves. Many are the troubles of the just man, but out of them all the LORD delivers him." Psalm 34:17-21, 23

Catholics are supposed to witness to the greatest reality ever imagined...Truth! And Truth is reality based. We are not a magical people, but a sacramental people. We are not an earthly utopian people, but a Merciful Pilgrim people. We are not an otherworldly, out of touch people, but a Kingdom Come people, seeking heaven through Love here and now.

We are people who accept suffering and death as part of the program. A necessary part! A vital part. For in suffering, the true test, we best witness our faith, hope and charity. And in death, tied to our baptism, we crown our Life within the hope of God's Eternal Providential Hand.

Suffering is Oneness with the Crucified One. The first step toward Resurrection.

"So Jesus cried out in the temple area as he was teaching and said, 'You know me and also know where I am from. Yet I did not come on my own, but the one who sent me, whom you do not know, is true. I know him, because I am from him, and he sent me.'” John 7:1-2, 10, 25-30

Suffering tends to make most of us cringe and look the other way. The suffering Jesus makes us do the very same. We all Love the teaching, healing, and Risen Jesus. But we struggle with the humiliated and ravaged Jesus, just like we struggle with His disciples in the very same situation.

The only Way to truly know Jesus, and to truly know His Love, is to know Him from His Cross, and through His crucified disciples all around us.