The Value of Adversity IT IS good for us to have trials and troubles at times, for they often remind us that we are on probation and ought not to hope in any worldly thing. It is good for us sometimes to suffer contradiction, to be misjudged by men even though we do well and mean well. These things help us to be humble and shield us from vainglory. When to all outward appearances men give us no credit, when they do not think well of us, then we are more inclined to seek God Who sees our hearts. Therefore, a man ought to root himself so firmly in God that he will not need the consolations of men. When a man of good will is afflicted, tempted, and tormented by evil thoughts, he realizes clearly that his greatest need is God, without Whom he can do no good. Saddened by his miseries and sufferings, he laments and prays. He wearies of living longer and wishes for death that he might be dissolved and be with Christ. Then he understands fully that perfect security and complete peace cannot be found on earth.
– Thomas Aquinas. The Imitation of Christ
Thoughts Helpful in the Life of the Soul
Chapter 12: The Love of Solitude and Silence:
“Hence, for many it is better not to be too free from temptations, but often to be tried lest they become too secure too filled with pride, or even to eager to fall back upon external comforts.” – Thomas Kempis
I both like and dislike silence and in our modern day it is easier to not have silence than to have it. I like the silence because it is in the quiet that I can hear the voice of God, but it is also in the silence that I hear the voice of temptation and accusation. Thomas Babington Macaulay said “The measure of a man’s real character is what he would do if he knew he would never be found out” and I must admit that at times I am afraid of myself. I am not so much afraid of what I would do but what I am capable of doing and in the silence those fears can be seen. I am aware that it is also in that same silence God is pruning and bringing things to the surface so they can be dealt with but the pruning is painful while it happens so I wish to avoid the pain. But at the same time I desire the pruning because it will continue to remove those things I desire removed. It is a sad state to be sure; to desire the thing you do not want in order to be the one you wish to be. Maybe that is what is meant in Hebrews 12:2 where it says “For the joy set before him he endured the cross, scorning its shame, and sat down at the right hand of the throne of God.” Christ had to do nothing to be God but in order for us to be reconciled (which He desired) He had to endure the cross. So too must I take up my cross not to be reconciled but to continue to prune away those things which are not fitting for a child of the King.