By Oswald Sobrino, J.D.; M.A. (Econ.); M.A. (Theo.); M.L. (Master of Latin), doctoral student, University of Florida.

Saturday, January 22, 2011

Waiting and Smiling

Some items to consider:

1. Evangelical speaker Joyce Meyer has a lot of common sense advice that many Christians, including Catholics, can profit from greatly. Her insight comes from a past of deep suffering. Yes, as Aeschylus wrote long ago,
Drop, drop– in our sleep, upon the heart
sorrow falls, memory’s pain,                  
and to us, though against our very will,
even in our own despite,                      
comes wisdom,                                    
by the awful grace of God.

Edith Hamilton translation.

In the midst of bad circumstances, Meyer has some good counsel:

Once we've asked God to answer a question or solve a problem, we need to be eagerly awaiting His answer. We need to be serving actively, aggressively and expectantly. When our hearts are eager to hear from God, He loves to rush in suddenly with His solution. In many cases this waiting period actually serves as a time of preparation for the answer. If God answered right away, many of us would be ill-prepared to handle His solution. 

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A few years ago, a friend and former teacher, who herself had gone through some very bad times, highly recommended that I read Meyer. I had never heard of  Meyer and did not pay much attention to the advice. But, having heard Meyer speak on the radio, Meyer makes good sense on many topics.

2. The above brings me to my main point, an old point, as old as St. Paul who proclaimed that he knew how to be content in all circumstances:

for I have learned in whatever situation I am to be acontent. 12 I know how to be brought low, and I know how to abound. In any and every circumstance, I have learned the secret of facing plenty and bhunger, abundance and cneed. 13 I can do all things dthrough him who strengthens me. 

Philippians 4:11b-13 (ESV).

Having recently finished rereading The Meditations of Marcus Aurelius, I recall the Stoic wisdom, a wisdom that often has a Christian tone, on the issue of suffering:

To follow the logos in all things is to be relaxed and energetic, joyful and serious at once.

Meditations, Book Ten, Section 12a, in a new translation by Gregory Hays (2003).

How interesting that the Creator reveals his wisdom to the Greco-Roman pagan and to the Christian alike, with the fullness of that wisdom coalescing, without error, in the Christian revelation. We are heirs of that tradition of wisdom.

Finally, let me end with a Latin saying from the Vulgate which captures the end result of learning from the preceding fonts of wisdom:

Cor gaudēns exhilarat faciens./"A rejoicing heart brightens the face."

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Too many who claim to be Christian carry faces of anxiety, unhappiness, or disdain. It is time to get wisdom.