The Trial of Helplessness

post10There is a wonderful passage in the writings of Fr. Jacques Philippe (in his book, Interior Freedom) which is well worth sharing here, because there is a great deal of suffering happening in the lives of families all around the world, suffering which we see continually in the news we receive, but also that which we experience in our own families.  No one is immune, it seems.  So, here it is:

“There are times in every life when we find ourselves in situations of trial and difficulty, either affecting us or someone we love.  We can do nothing.  However much we turn things over and examine them from every angle, there is no solution.  The feeling of being helpless and powerless is a painful trial, especially when it concerns someone close to us:  to see someone we love in difficulties without being able to help is one of the bitterest sufferings there is.  Many parents experience it.  When children are small, there is always a way of intervening, helping them.  When children are older and no longer heed advice, it can be terrible for parents to see their sons or daughters turning to drugs or launching destructive love affairs.  Much as they want to help, they cannot.  At such times we should tell ourselves that even if we apparently have no way of intervening, we still, despite everything, can continue to believe, hope, and love.  We can believe that God will not abandon our child and our prayer will bear fruit in due course.  We can hope in the Lord’s faithfulness and power for everything.

“We can love by continuing to carry that person in our heart and prayer, forgiving him and forgiving the wrong done to him; and expressing love in every way available to us, including trust, self-abandonment, and forgiveness.  The more devoid of means our love is, the purer and greater it is.  Even when, externally, there is nothing to be done, we still have inner freedom to continue to love.  No circumstance, however tragic, can rob us of that.

“For us, this should be a liberating and consoling certainty amidst the trial of powerlessness. Even if we can do nothing, as long as we believe, hope, and love, something is happening whose fruits will appear sooner or later, in the time of God’s mercy. Love, though bereft of means and apparently powerless, is always fruitful. It cannot be otherwise, because it is a participation in the being and life of God.  ‘Hope does not disappoint us, because God’s love has been poured into our hearts through the Holy Spirit who has been given to us.’ (Romans 5:5)”

Many blessings as we look forward to Pentecost,  JC

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