This is part of the infinite goodness of God, that He should allow evil to exist, and out of it produce good.”
—St. Thomas Aquinas
God will make obstacles serve His purpose. We all have mountains in our lives. There are people and things that threaten to bar our progress in the Divine life. Those heavy claims, that uncongenial occupation, that thorn in the flesh, that daily cross—we think that if only these were removed we might live purer, tenderer, holier lives; and often we pray for their removal.
‘Oh fools, and slow of heart!’ These are the very conditions of achievement; they have been put into our lives as the means to the very graces and virtues for which we have been praying so long.”
quoted in Streams in the Desert
I have always wanted to be a person of prayer. That was the “grace and virtue” I had long longed for.
I have never prayed so earnestly or so often as I did during the dark month of December after my twins were born. I prayed for the paralyzing anxiety under which I could barely function to lift. I prayed for deliverance from my fear. I prayed for my husband, my children, my parents, my sister.
I started my prayer window so I would remember to turn my prayers outward. I prayed for people whose lives were harder than mine: a friend whose daughter had leukemia, a woman whose son had a brain tumor, a friend with an undiagnosed disease that robbed her of all her energy, a woman with three young children and stage 4 ovarian cancer.
At some point, I realized that God was bringing out of this horrible depression the grace I had long wanted: the grace of being a person who prays. If I hadn’t been so frightened and anxious, I probably would have laughed. Bitterly.
I laugh now. But it’s not bitter. It’s joyful. How good of God to take something horrible and turn it into a means of grace.
There is nothing in life which harasses and annoys that may not become subservient to the highest ends. They are His mountains.
God takes the mountains we can’t climb and gives us strength and grace to climb them, makes them the very route by which we attain the strength and grace we want and need. Praise Him.
Whatever mountain you face, friend, know that you do not face it alone. Christ died for you, Christ rose for you, Christ reigns in power for you, Christ prays for you. And Christ walks with you every step of the way, imparting his power to you.
By God’s grace and with God’s help, you can climb this mountain. So: lift your eyes to the hills!
Florilegium comes from two Latin words, meaning flower (flor) and gather (legere). Legere is closely related to the Latin word for reading (lectio). So a florilegium is literally a gathering of the flowers of reading: a collation of the best words, the best books.
I hope you’ll come by every Friday to gaze on some beautiful heart-mind-and-soul flowers. (And stop in at Susan’s, too, for another bouquet).