St. Alphonsa, a saint canonized in recent years and who I am proud to say was from my home country had remarked in a beautiful prayer; “I consider a day in which I have not suffered as a day lost to me.” What a heart provoking statement! She was truly a nun who was happy to suffer for the Lord.
This Sunday, we dwell on the Lord’s ascension into Heaven and the commencement of His work on earth by the disciples. This work did not end with the martyrdom of the disciples but was meant to be continued by us in the present days.
How much are we doing to spread the word of the Lord? I have been told time and again by the members of my prayer group that all those who take on the responsibility of preaching should be prepared to bear misfortunes in their lives. This statement even prompted SOS calls from my family members back home to reconsider my mission. But nothing can stop me. I will preach the word of God in all circumstances. Because the Lord himself said that once you put your hand to the plough, there is no turning back.
Besides, I know in my heart that the Lord can only bless me and my loved ones in return for spreading His word. There is no way that I can walk out after a preaching session with fear in my heart that now I should be prepared for some affliction in return. Because every time, I speak His word, it only leaves me with a happy feeling. No other feeling can topple this joy.
Adversities will come and go. There is a beautiful verse from a hymn; “I am your child, Lord, Jesus, I am your child. Every day, every hour, I will seek your healing power, I am your child, Lord Jesus, I am your child.”
But, whenever I went through any distress in my life, I never asked the Lord to take the cup of suffering away from me. I only asked Him to give me the strength to bear the cup. And, He gave me more than moral strength in return.
Isaiah 43 1:2,7,10,20:21 says; Do not fear, for I have redeemed you; I have summoned you by name; When you pass through the waters, I will be with you; and when you pass through the rivers, they will not sweep over you.
When you walk through the fire, you will not be burned; the flames will not set you ablaze. For I am the LORD your God, the Holy One of Israel, your Savior;”
7; “Everyone who is called by my name, I created for my glory, whom I formed and made.” 10;“You are my witnesses,” declares the LORD, and the one whom I have chosen, so that you may know and believe me and understand that I am he.” 20:21; “I provide water in the wilderness and streams in the wasteland, to give drink to my people, my chosen, the people I formed for myself that they may proclaim my praise.”
When the Lord has anointed us to do the will of His Father, no force can prevail against us. As we celebrate the Ascension, we do not mourn Him going away from us but rather, we rejoice in His ascent to the highest heavenly realm where He now takes His place at the right hand of the Father and we too await like the disciples did the powerful anointing of the Holy Spirit to bear witness to Him. He has called us by name and we are a part of His holy name chosen to be His very own until the day of our own ascent by the power of the Trinity.