It is not our lot in life that indicates God’s favour. Rich or poor, in health or in sickness, at peace or in distress: it is not the circumstances of our present lives but rather how we direct our lives that determines our standing before God.
Do not think that God loves the man who has just won the lottery more than he loves you. Do not believe that God loves you less because of your struggles. Do not pray for better days or a longer happier life. Pray first that you may always love and serve him, for in His wisdom and love, God by His providence has given us all that we need to seek and find Him in this life.
Find your God in the daily toils of your life today. Pray in earnest that you will come to know Him and love Him more deeply through both good times and bad. Know that in trials as in days of joy, He is with you, reaching out for you, waiting for you to find Him, and with that discovery to find a peace and joy more profound than anything this world can offer: The joy of being the beloved of God and the peace of a life lived in His love for all eternity.
Though He was in the form of God, Jesus did not count equality with God a thing to be grasped. He emptied Himself, taking the form of a servant, being born in the likeness of men. And being found in human form, he humbled himself and became obedient unto death, even death on a cross.
“Therefore God has highly exalted Him and bestowed on Him the name which is above every name: That at the name of Jesus every knee should bow in heaven and on earth and under the earth, and every tongue confess that Jesus Christ is Lord to the glory of God the Father.”
Each of us looks to our share in the glory of Christ, at the banquet of the Lamb prepared for us in His Kingdom. It is a glory that comes not from exalting ourselves but waiting in humility for God to exalt us. Are we prepared to drink of the cup that Christ had to drink? It is the cup of obedience and humility; of selflessness and sacrifice; of yielding and service. And the rewards are great, for in imitating Him in service of our fellow man in this life, we shall be with Him in His glory just as He is with us in each of those whom we serve.
What is the mark of our faith? The cross on our lintel … the one we wear around our neck? Our weekly participation at Mass … our Lenten forbearance? How does the world know us as disciples of Christ?
The song of the Psalmist today gives a resounding warning:
“ ‘I find no fault with your sacrifices,
your offerings are always before me.
I do not ask more bullocks from your farms,
nor goats from among your herds.
‘But how can you recite my commandments
and take my covenant on your lips,
you who despise my law
and throw my words to the winds?’ ”
The externals of our faith are important: they are outward manifestation of the inward glory of our faith in God. But just as roots and stems precede flowers, so must we tend to our interior life of grace and ensure that it is driven by a life of faith, hope and love. With healthy stems and strong roots planted in the fertile soil of living faith, the external manifestation of our faith will blossom and bear the fruit of eternal life.