Scripture Reading: Romans 12:12
Let us start today’s reflection in the words of St. John Eudes, “The Christian life is the continuation and completion of the life of Christ in us. We should be Christ like, each and every one of us, continuing his work, laboring and suffering in a wholly divine manner in the spirit of Jesus.”
Different versions of the Bible give insight to these words of consolation in times of tribulation. According to the Aramaic Bible in Plain English, it says, “Bear your afflictions bravely”; while the NET Bible used the word, “endure suffering”. Dear child of God, these words of consolation are not coming from the writer, but directly from the Lord to you, to “Be strong in tribulation”. The truth remains, it is difficult to endure pains, difficulties, hardships, shame, disgrace, humiliation and afflictions of infirmity and diseases; even the Lord does not will it so. The reason, therefore, God is sending us consolation is owing to the fact that you cannot afford to lose something precious just because you have been troubled, to lose it. “Why should I be suffering like this?” “Why am I passing through this level of difficulties?” Have you asked such questions? First we must accept this very truth according to John 17:14-16, “I gave them a message, and the world hated them, because they do not belong to the world, I do not ask you to take them out of the world, but I do ask you to keep them safe from the Evil One. Just as I do not belong to the world, they do not belong to the world.” The Lord does not belong to the world and so do us, so He knows that by not “belonging” we will have to endure challenges of being different and hence, gives us strength to be strong by asking His Father to save us from the hands of the one who rules the world – Satan. (John 12:31) He went further to be very explicit about the challenges in our time, He said, “I have told you this so that you will have peace by being united to me. The world will make you suffer. But be brave! I have defeated the world!” (John 16:33). Beloved, why then should we be courageous, bold and strong in enduring tribulations? First, it is not everybody that is privileged to suffer for Christ, and so if you are suffering because you are speaking the truth, if you are in hardship because you do not want to be involved in a shady deal, if your life is threatened because you profess Christ, just be happy, you are highly privileged, for the Scripture says, “…They were happy because God has considered them worthy to suffer disgrace for the sake of Jesus.” Again we should be strong in tribulation because it is part of our Christian calling in Christ; we share in Christ’s mission when we suffer for Him. In Philippians 1:29, the Scripture says, “…For to you it has been granted on behalf of Christ, not only to believe in Him, but also to suffer for His sake.” No wonder St. John of Arc says “Accept everything with a willing heart. Do not mind your martyrdom; at the end, you shall come to the kingdom of paradise.” And because we suffer for Him, we shall share in His glory. In Job, we saw a man suffering for the sake of righteousness; he lost all he had but God restored him to glory. This was a physical manifestation and confirmation of the spiritual benefit recorded in Revelation 7:14, “…These are the people who have come safely through the terrible persecution. They have washed their robes and made them white with the blood of the Lamb.” There is a glory awaiting us, so beloved be strong. I say again to you “Be Strong”. Never forget , “All those who suffer with Jesus, at the end will reign with him in His Kingdom.”
MASS: WHITE Acts 4:23-31; Ps 2:1-3.4-6.7-9 (R.12d); Accl. Col 3:1; Jn 3:1-8 ST. FIDELIS OF SIGMARINGEN, P.M (OptMem)
1. Lord Jesus, grant me the grace to remain steadfast in persecution; and in the consolation that my reward is great in heaven. Help me to have the fullness of the Spirit like St. Stephen to accept whatever persecution that comes my way, and the strength not to fail God. Grant me the courage never to give up but endure suffering for Christ’s sake, like St. Paul. Thank You Jesus for raising me to a new level of grace.
2. Pray for all Christians being persecuted all over the world for the sake of Christ, that they will find joy in suffering for Christ.
3. Pray for all those persecuting Christians, that they may have a personal encounter with Christ like Paul had and repent of such wickedness. (Pray seriously)
Exercise: Pray for the success of the International Retreat for all Distributors, Partners and Users of Daily Strength Devotional