Wednesday, February 6, 2013

Chastisements from the Father

In today's first reading, we are instructed:
Endure your trials as “discipline”; God treats you as his sons. For what “son” is there whom his father does not discipline? At the time, all discipline seems a cause not for joy but for pain, yet later it brings the peaceful fruit of righteousness to those who are trained by it.
-- Hebrews 12:7,11

It is not enough for us to be merely clever primates. God the Father wills to set us free to be His sons and daughters. The suffering in our lives, like the sufferings in Purgatory, shape us into being able to become such unfathomably, blindingly holy beings. As George MacDonald writes of Divine chastisements:

To save a man from his sins, is to say to him, in sense perfect and eternal, 'Rise up and walk. Be at liberty in thy essential being. Be free as the son of God is free.' To do this for us, Jesus was born, and remains born to all the ages. When misery drives a man to call out to the source of his life,—and I take the increasing outcry against existence as a sign of the growth of the race toward a sense of the need of regeneration—the answer, I think, will come in a quickening of his conscience. This earnest of the promised deliverance may not, in all probability will not be what the man desires; he will want only to be rid of his suffering; but that he cannot have, save in being delivered from its essential root, a thing infinitely worse than any suffering it can produce. If he will not have that deliverance, he must keep his suffering. Through chastisement he will take at last the only way that leads into the liberty of that which is and must be. There can be no deliverance but to come out of his evil dream into the glory of God.
-- George MacDonald, The Hope of the Gospel, chapter 1: "Salvation from Sin".

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