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Trials turned to gold

posted Apr 14, 2016, 6:25 PM by Rochester Ordinariate
I am reposting Fr. Scharbach's message from Baltimore, since it was encouraging.

Dear Parishioners and Friends,

Now that we're in the third week of Easter, the tone or our readings from the Book of Acts has changed.  The boldness of Peter's preaching has given way to persecution.  Luke records that Saul "laid waste the Church" (Acts 8:3). 

What good can come out of that?  The same good that come from trials in your life and mine. 

Perspective from Padre Pio

First, Padre Pio can teach us a thing or two.  He was persecuted by adversaries both within the Church and without.  One time he said, "I am being put to test in everything.  I live in perpetual night, and there is no sign at all that its thick darkness will give way ..."

Padre Pio acknowledges that we can become discouraged in times like these, and even wonder if God is against us.  

But then St. Pio tells us that God's love is in the trial. He said, "All that happens to you is the result of love, of God's great love for you; it is a most loving trial that God gives to his elect."  This can be hard to accept in the mist of difficulty.  But Pio goes so far as to say that "tribulations are more precious than gold or rest."  

Of all people, St. Pio would know.  His letters speak of the great anguish of his soul!   But even in it all, he sees this as a "vocation to co-redeem" and therefore "a source of glory."  

He said that if we accept this beyond doubt, then "all the anxieties and trepidations that the enemy causes to arise, will collapse."   

A second look at Acts

Let's look again at the Acts of the Apostles.  What happened during the persecution in Jerusalem?  Stephen was killed while others were imprisoned or scattered.  

But something else was also happening. Christians showed supernatural perseverance that led to more conversions.  And, Christians went to other cities where the Gospel was preached and received with great joy.  Finally, after having been driven away, many Christians were spared from the destruction of Jerusalem that happened in 70 AD.  

How can trials be turned to gold in your life?  Let's start with how they make us press in more to God.  Trials also teach us how to share the gospel in the midst of the real difficulties of life.  And we often find that God blesses us through difficult circumstances in ways that we would never expect.  

Joseph could finally tell his brothers in Egypt, "What you meant for evil, God meant for good." In this way, with Padre Pio, we can embrace our "vocation to co-redeem" through our trials, even as we share in both the cross and resurrection of our Lord.  

In Christ,
Fr. Scharbach