A Catholic Convert in Ottawa

A Little Rain

Posted on: April 21, 2014

Since the snow lasted into early April, it feels more like March in Ottawa to me, with some cool weather and a fair amount of rain. And more rain on the way several days this week.

Sometimes I find rainy days dreary and even headache-inducing. Still, I know the rain revives the crocuses and early stardrift flowers in my garden, makes the grass green up, and washes away the road dust.

Do we recognize the power of the rain in our own lives?

I recently borrowed a book by Jefferson Bethke called Jesus>Religion: Why He Is So Much Better Than Trying Harder, Doing More, and Being Good Enough. In a chapter entitled “With Religion, If You Are Suffering, God Is Punishing You / God Already Punished Jesus on Your Behalf, So Suffering Is His Mercy,” the author talks about the way rain changes our lives:

Too many times we curse the rain in our lives–suffering, trials, hardships–but the truth is, without rain, nothing grows.

Being laid off from a job I enjoyed, losing a friend to cancer, losing a friendship to distance and time–none of this pain was something I welcomed. Yet in time I learned that I was more than my job. That tomorrow isn’t guaranteed and I shouldn’t waste today. That some friendships will fade away. But most importantly, that I could lean on God for comfort in my sadness and for strength and guidance to grow and make changes in my life.

In June, we’ll mark the feast of the Ascension of the Lord. For the apostles, this was a time of loss: while they continued to meet and pray with other followers of Jesus, and even to select another apostle to take the place of Judas (see Acts 1:15-26*), Jesus had returned to heaven (see Acts 1:9). But then the day of Pentecost came, bringing the gift of the Holy Spirit (see Acts 2:1-12), as Jesus had promised. Though the apostles lost Jesus’ physical presence among them, they gained the guidance and gifts of the Holy Spirit; the promise of eternal life, as Jesus was “the first-born from the dead” (Colossians 1:18); and “a great high priest who has passed through the heavens,” “one who is every respect has been tempted as we are, yet without sinning” (Hebrews 4:14, 15). And the church was born.

When we are struggling to deal with loss, suffering or challenges, may we turn to God to bring us through the difficult times to healing and growth.

(*Scripture references and quotes taken from the Holy Bible, Revised Standard Version, Second Catholic Edition.)


Food for Thought

(Y)ou do not know about tomorrow. What is your life? For you are a mist that appears for a little time and then vanishes. Instead you ought to say, “If the Lord wills, we shall live and we shall do this or that.” ~ James 4:14-15

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