DAILY CATHOLIC    THURS-FRI-SAT-SUN     May 13-16, 1999     vol. 10, no. 94


To print out entire text of Today's issue, go to SECTION ONE and SECTION TWO and SECTION THREE
          Pat Ludwa, a committed lay Catholic from Cleveland, has been asked to contribute, on a regular basis, a lay person's point of view on the Church today. We have been impressed with his insight and the clear logic he brings to the table from his "view from the pew." In all humility, by his own admission, he feels he has very little to offer, but we're sure you'll agree with us that his viewpoint is exactly what millions of the silent majority of Catholics believe and have been trying to say as well. Pat puts it in words that help all of us better understand and convey to others what the Church teaches and we must believe.

          Today Pat reminds us all that it is not what God sends our way, but why and how we react that fuses us into pure gold in His eyes or fools gold that might just be discarded. It all depends on what we put into it as Pat reminds us all of how we have been likened to gold, purified in a furnace of trials for our faith. That can be a painful process. The gold nugget, precious on it's own, is heated by fire and all impurities are separated from it. In this state, it is at its most precious; and it's at this stage that it is the softest, most pliable and prime for God to work with. Our bodies, minds and souls need a heavy, healthy dose of wind and rough weather to make our roots strong and our trunks able to weather the barrage of satan's storms.

Gold Nuggets

          One can only imagine the feeling someone has when they hear a raging tornado bearing down on them and their home. For many, they don't have to imagine. One can only imagine the feeling one has when they hear news that a loved one has an unknown lump, or cancer, or terminal illness. For many others, they don't have to imagine. It's at times like these that faith can be sorely tested.

          We hear questions like: "Why did God allow this?" "What did I do to deserve this?"

          We hear comments like: "They are being punished for some sin." "If God was truly a loving God, He would never have allowed it to happen." "If my faith were stronger, God would have saved me."

          These aren't questions or comments of faith, but rather the whisperings of temptation to leave faith behind.

          God never promised wealth and health for those who followed Him, He never promised us happiness in this world, only in the next. In fact, He promised the opposite. What He did promise us was His peace. A peace of mind that nothing is occurring which isn't for our benefit and/or for our loved ones. It doesn't take away the concern, the sadness, or the anxiety. It merely helps us through it.

          As our Lord hung on the cross, beaten, scourged, and in pain, Our Lady didn't stand at the foot of the cross happy it was occurring. No, she was weeping, her heart was being pierced by numerous swords. She knew He was here for this, she knew what His sacrifice meant for all mankind. But it didn't take away one once of pain in her heart at seeing her Son suffer and die. But she had the 'peace' of Christ, to see her through it.

          The martyr's of ancient Rome weren't happy to see their friends and relatives become human torches to light Nero's Circus. But there was a joy, a 'peace' that it was all for the good. And in fact, as has been said, the blood of the martyr's watered and nourished the seeds of faith.

          It's no accident that one of the ancient symbols of Christ was an anchor. St. John of the Cross wrote that it's when we have lost everything, we come closer to God. Holding onto Him to secure us an anchor holds a ship securely.

          Our Lord said that we would be like gold. Purified in a furnace. That is a painful process. The gold nugget, precious on it's own, is heated by fire and all impurities are separated from it. In this state, it is at it's most precious. And it's softest, pliable and able to be easily worked with no change in it's purity.

          For those of little or no faith, this 'fire', these trials and tragedies are not occasions of growth but things to be avoided. Instead of seeking the cross to anchor themselves to, they run off into fables, anchoring themselves on themselves. Seeking 'faiths' which suit them, which gives them the illusion of being in control.

          They build their houses on the sandy soil of themselves. And when a tornado comes (which they cannot control) and destroys that house, they seek to blame others rather than themselves.

          When a tornado destroys a home, a town, a State, we blame God. When a loved, or ourselves, are diagnosed with a terminal illness, we blame God.

          But the person of faith doesn't see these as impediments, or blocks to faith, but rather avenues of even greater faith. It won't take away the pain, or the feeling of loss. But will help ease the pain and accept the loss.

          I think I speak for all those here that our prayers and thoughts are with those touched by the tragedies of the past weeks. And may the peace of Christ, a peace the world cannot give, be with you and yours, now and forever.

      Pax Christi, Pat

May 13-16, 1999       volume 10, no. 94


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