Bigger problem, stronger hope, greater grace

By Fr. Roy Cimagala

WE should always remember this comforting triad. Where we encounter big problems in life, let’s react with stronger hope, and expect some extraordinary grace, favor and mercy from God, our Father.

This truth of our faith is somehow dramatized in that gospel story where Christ was confronted with a man so possessed by a legion of devils that “no one could restrain him any longer, even with a chain.” (cfr. Mk 5,1-20)

That gospel story somehow demonstrates what can happen to us individually or collectively as a society. If we are not careful, we can allow the devil to enter and possess us. And things can get worse when, God forbid, a demonic infestation can occur.

We should always be wary of the devils and be ready to handle them properly. They exist. And their only purpose of their existence is to do evil, to go against God and to everyone and everything that God loves. They were originally good angels who rebelled against God upon their creation.

Being pure spirits and therefore are free and intelligent beings, the devils misused their intelligence and freedom by choosing to replace God upon their creation. That choice has plunged them, being pure spirits, into an irreversible eternal state of enmity against God and against everything else that comes from God and is still with God.

Many if not all the temptations that come our way originate or are being orchestrated by devils. The proper attitude we should have when temptations come is to reject these temptations immediately, never giving them a chance to advance in their plot by dialoguing with them, and to go to God immediately.

Let’s remember that when temptations come, it is because we have let down our guard. It means that our union with God has loosened, if not completely broken, often without even our noticing it.

Thus, when temptations come, we really should intensify our prayers and hope in God’s merciful providence, since only with God can we resist them. We should also submit our body to some severe discipline because when tempted the body easily falls and drags our spirit with it.

We have to reassure ourselves, based on what Christ has promised and has actually done for us, that there can be no crisis that is too big for the grace of God to handle.

We have to remember that nothing happens in this life without at least the knowledge and tolerance of God. And if God allows some really bad things to happen, it is because a greater good can always be derived from them.

We just have to put ourselves in God’s side to tackle whatever crisis plagues us. That is the real challenge we have to face. And just like what Christ did and continues to do to redeem us, we have to follow the formula he once spelled out: deny ourselves, carry the cross and then follow him. (cfr. Mt 16,24)

If we are willing to do that, then we can even gain a lot more than what we appear to lose and to suffer. In other words, we can say that the bigger, the more serious the problem is, the bigger, plentier and stronger also would the grace God will give us. So, let us just be game and do our part of the bargain.

It’s not easy, of course. But neither is it impossible. If we consider God’s abundant grace, even the impossible can be possible for us.