Wednesday, July 21, 2004

Christian Heritage - July 20 - Calling for Help

"God sometimes sends us such tribulations because he wishes us to pray to him for help. And therefore, when Saint Peter was in prison, scripture shows that the whole Church prayed incessantly for him, without intermission: and at their fervent prayer God delivered him by a miracle. When the disciples in the tempest stood in fear of drowning they prayed unto Christ and said: Save us, Lord, we perish. And then at their prayer he quickly made the tempest cease. And now we often see proved that in bad weather or sickness God gives gracious help through public processions. And many people in their great pain and sickness are marvelously cured by calling upon God. This is God's goodness that, because in prosperity we remember him not, but forget to pray to him, he sends us sorrow and sickness, to force us to draw toward him, and compel us to call upon him and pray for release from our pain. In this way when we learn to know him and to seek him we take advantage of this good opportunity to come later to greater grace."

Thomas More (1477-1535), A Dialogue of Comfort against Tribulation, I, 165-167

More was Lord Chancellor of England. Famously, he opted for death rather than uphold Henry VIII's divorce and remarriage. His life, and these words of his, remind me that grace is often the bitterest tasting medicine.

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