| Time for Testing | Oneness with Jesus | Spiritual Olympics | Fulfilment and Fruitfulness |

Time for Testing

"Yes, Lord, thou hast put us to the proof,
tested us as men test silver in the fire;
led us into a snare, and bowed our backs with trouble,
while human masters rode us down;
our way led through fire and water,
yet in the end thou hast granted us relief."
"Probasti nos, Deus;
igne nos examinasti, sicut examinatur argentum.
Induxisti nos in laqueum,
posuisti tribulationes in dorso nostro.
Imposuisti homines super capita nostra,
transivimus per ignem at aquam,
et eduxisti nos in refrigerium." (Ps 65:10-12)

"It may surprise you to learn that in his efforts to get permanent possession of a soul, He relies on the troughs even more than on the peaks; some of His special favorites have gone through longer and deeper troughs than anyone else. Our cause is never more in danger than when a human, no longer desiring, but still intending, to do our Enemy's will, looks round upon a universe from which every trace of Him seems to have vanished, and asks why he has been forsaken, and still obeys." (CS Lewis, Screwtape Letters, VIII)

"Consider yourselves happy indeed, my brethren, when you encounter trials of every sort, as men who know well enough that the testing of their faith breed endurance. Endurance must do its work thoroughly, if you are to be men full-grown in every part, nothing lacking in you."
"Omne gaudium existimate, fratres mei cum in tentationes varias incideritis, scientes quod probatio fidei vestrae patientiam operatur; patientia autem opus perfectum habet, ut sitis perfecti et integri, in nullo deficientes." (Jas 1:2-4)

"I am the true vine, and my Father is the vine-dresser. Every branch in me that bears no fruit he will take away; and every branch that bears fruit he will cleanse, that it may bear more fruit." (Jn 15:1-2)

"And the Lord said, 'Simon, Simon, behold, Satan has claimed power over you all, so that he can sift you like wheat: but I have prayed for thee, that thy faith my not fail." (Lk 22:31-32)

"The life of man upon earth is a warfare, and his days are like the days of a hireling. As a servant longs for the shade, as the hireling looks for the end of his work; so I also have had empty months, and have numbered to myself wearisome nights. If I lie down to sleep, I shall say: When shall I arise? And again I shall look for the evening, and shall be filled with sorrows even till darkness.
"My days have passed more swiftly than the web is cut by the weaver, and are consumed without any hope. Remember that my life is but wind, and my eyes shall not return to see good things." (Job 7:1-4,6-7)

"God has tried them, and found them worthy of himself." (Wis 3:5)

"Naked I came, when I left my mother's womb, and whence I came, naked I must go. The Lord gave, the Lord has taken away; nothing here is befallen but what was the Lord's will; blessed be the name of the Lord.
"Should we not accept the good fortune God sends us, and not the ill?"
"Nudus egressus sum de utero matris meae, et nudus revertar illuc. Dominus dedit, Dominus abstulit; sicut Domino placuit, ita factum est: sit nomen Domini benedictum. ... Si bona suscepimus de manu Dei, mala quare non suscipiamus?" (Job 1:21, 2:10b)

Oneness with Jesus

"If the world hates you, be sure that it hated me before it learned to hate you. ...Do not forget what I said to you, 'No servant can be greater than his master. They will persecute you just as they have persecuted me; they will pay the same attention to your words as to mine. And they will treat you thus because you bear my name..." (Jn 15:20-21) "The Spirit himself thus assures our spirit, that we are children of God; and if we are his children, then we are his heirs, too; heirs of God, sharing the inheritance of Christ; only we must share his sufferings, if we are to share his glory." (Rom 8:16-17)

"Life comes down to be killed; Bread comes down to suffer hunger; the Way comes down to tire himself walking; the Fountain comes down to feel thirst; and you, are you going to refuse suffering?" (St Augustine, Sermo 78,6)

"Consider, therefore, how your life will have to be; because if Christ redeemed us by dying on the wood, it would not be logical that you respond with a mediocre life. You need effort, sacrifice, tenacity; to feel the tiredness of the cross that weighs on our back everyday." (John Paul II, To the Youth, 11 April 1987, Argentina)

"For even when we came to Macedonia, our flesh had no rest but suffered all manner of affliction, conflicts without, fears within." (II Cor 7:5)

"I was with you in weakness and fear and much trembling." (I Cor 2:3)

"For we do not wish you, brethren, to be ignorant of the affliction which came upon us in Asia, since we were burdened beyond measure, beyond our strength, so that we were weary even of life." (II Cor 1:8)

"Some people claim to have too many crosses, but what we need are more Christs." (Bl Josemaria Escriva)

Spiritual Olympics

"Enter through the narrow gate. The gate that leads to damnation is wide, the road is clear, and many choose to travel it. But how narrow is the gate that leads to life, how rough the road, and how few there are who find it!" (Mt 17:11-14)

"You are not mortified if you are touchy; if your every thought is for yourself; if you humiliate others; if you don't know how to give up what is unnecessary and, at times, what is necessary; if you become gloomy because things don't turn out the way you had hoped. On the other hand, you can be sure you are mortified if you know how to make yourself 'all things to all men, in order to save all.'(I Cor 9:22)" (Bl Josemaria Escriva, Christ is Passing By, 9)

Fulfilment and Fruitfulness

"Unless the grain of wheat falls on the ground and dies, it remains alone (ipsum solum manet)

"Almost all my memories of childhood and adolescence are connected with my father. The violence of the blows that struck him opened up immense spiritual depths in him; his grief found its outlet in prayer. The mere fact of seeing him on his knees had a decisive influence on my early years. He was so hard on himself that he had no need to be hard on his son; his example alone was sufficient to inculcate discipline and a sense of duty." (Interview with John Paul II, in Andre Frossard, Be not Afraid!)

"Lux in cruce, requies in cruce, gaudium in cruce." (Bl Josemaria Escriva)

"Believe me when I tell you this, you will weep and lament while the world rejoices; you will be distressed, but your distress shall be turned into joy.
" day I will see you again, and then your hearts will be glad; and your gladness will be one which nobody can take away from you." (Jn 16:20,22)

"For our present light affliction, which is for the moment, prepares for us an eternal weight of glory that is beyond all measure." (II Cor 4:17)

"Ave, crux, spes unica!"

"In all things we suffer tribulation, but are not distressed;
we are straitened, but not destitute;
we suffer persecution, but are not forsaken;
we are cast down, but we perish not;
always bearing about in our body the death of Jesus,
that the life of Jesus may be made manifest in our mortal flesh."
"In omnibus tribulationem patimur, sed non angustiamur;
aporiamur, sed non destituimur;
persecutionem patimur, sed non derelinquimur;
deicimur, sed non perimus:
semper mortificationem Iesu in corpore nostro circumferentes,
ut et vita Iesu manifestetur in corporibus nostris." (II Cor 4:8ff)

"If the world 'love' is often on your lips, without being backed by little sacrifices, it becomes tedious." (Bl Josemaria Escriva, The Forge 979)