In the letter of St Paul to the Romans, he writes,
“All things work for the good for those who love God.”
Does that mean that if we love God as he commands us everything will be just as we hope it will be? I believe it means that if God is our first priority and we communicate with him every day in our prayers and ask for his guidance and protection, we will develop a relationship with him that will cause us to trust him in all things. Even when we undergo trials, we will be confident that he is near us and will give us what we need, even if it is for one moment at a time. Our love of God will allow us to look beyond our present dilemma and to trust in the promises that Jesus has made for those who love him.
Focus on The Cross
When we are confronted with a crisis, we are often tempted to spend all our energy focusing on the crisis, and in our imagination, it becomes bigger than reality and we think of the worst possible consequences. Instead, we should focus on a crucifix and call to mind the promises of our Lord. Among other things, he promises to give us the grace we need as we need it. Through perseverance, we will discover that our faithful relationship with Jesus is the Pearl of Great Price. There is nothing on this earth that can compare with the eternal happiness of heaven, which is the reward for those who love God above all else and keep his Commandments.
Sounds simple enough, but there are many obstacles to living a life close to God. Like Solomon, we should pray for an understanding heart to be able to distinguish right from wrong, which is not always easy in the complicated world in which we live. Our society tells us a lot of things are okay, but they often oppose the law of God and even the laws of nature.
Does Your Life Reflect a Living Faith?
Throughout our lives, God has provided many circumstances and personal encounters that were invitations to open up our hearts so that he could enter and help us discover the specific plan he has for each of us. It is very possible to miss his invitations. By the time I was thirty-eight, I am sure I missed many opportunities to discover the plan he had for me, but our Lord doesn’t give up on us. One day a business associate asked me if Jesus is the Lord of my life. Of course, I heard that phrase many times without giving it much thought but on this occasion, I pondered the question, realizing that my life didn’t reflect a living faith. I asked for the grace to make changes and with the help of prayer, I began the process of conversion that set my life in a different direction. I know from my personal experience, life close to God is much better than living as if God does not exist.
Every one of us has 24 hours each day and how we use that time has a great deal to do with our proximity to the kingdom of heaven. I have heard people say they don’t have time to pray. What is it that we do that we think can do on our own without God’s help? It is his love that allows us to take our next breath. It is said that no prayer means no faith because prayer is our connection to God and without faith, we have no hope.
Looks to the Saints for Hope
It is for this reason that Christ established his Church to guide us along with the Scriptures and the sacraments as the source of grace we need to preserver. If we want to know how God works in the lives of those who love him, we just need to read the lives of the saints. They come from different backgrounds, from kings to homeless beggars. However, at some point, they all recognized that the Pearl of Great Price is Jesus Christ himself and dedicated their lives to following him. They were heroic in their love of God and all things worked for the good for them. Even though some were martyred, some spent their entire lives in poverty or serious illness, and yet they all experienced great happiness and peace because God is true to his word.
If you have not yet made Jesus the Lord of your life, expect him to pursue you with circumstances and relationships that will be invitations to open up your heart to him so that he can reveal to you the special plan that will lead to your greatest potential for happiness in this life and for all eternity.
Deacon Tom Fox, C.K.H.S. is Co-Founder & Co-Director of Pilgrim Center of Hope with his wife, Mary Jane Fox. The two left their careers after a profound conversion experience and began working full-time in ministry at their parish in 1986. After several years and having impacted tens of thousands of families, the Foxes founded Pilgrim Center of Hope in 1993 as a response to the Church’s call for a New Evangelization. Deacon Tom is an invested member of the Equestrian Order of the Holy Sepulchre of Jerusalem, a Commander Knight of the Holy Sepulchre.
Answering Christ’s call, Pilgrim Center of Hope guides people to encounter Him so as to live in hope, as pilgrims in daily life. See what’s happening & let us journey with you! Visit PilgrimCenterOfHope.org.