Blessed are those who receive from God ‘The Science of the Saints’.
Part 1 – The folly of this world
The Apostle tells those who weep not to weep because their sorrows shall soon pass away. And those who rejoice not to fix their attractions on their enjoyments because they shall soon have an end.
There are two kinds of sciences upon this earth. One is to please God and make us great in heaven. The other is to please ourselves in the hope of obtaining world values such as popularity, talent, wealth and status. To behave and act like an animal desiring creature comforts and things of the lower nature.
But the things of this world are like a vapour. They appear for a time and then they are gone, never to return. The day will come when the scene will close for us and we will have to leave this world. Many people work hard to attain earthly goods, honour and riches. But the day shall come when they will have to part from them.
And yet they still go about their daily lives totally focused on the things of this world and pay no attention to the journey of their soul.
The goods of this world are apparent goods and like a mist will fade away after a time. The person is forever clutching and trying to grab these things in the hope of attaining true happiness but they are merely clutching at vapour. The happiness obtained is only temporal and only results in the person becoming puffed up with vanity. This is the trance like state of a person who does not know God.
A person who knows God strives to live a life that is pleasing to God. Why waste effort in acquiring the things of this world only to have them taken away from you. Instead why not live a life that is pleasing to God and store up eternal treasure in heaven that will never be taken away.
But miserable is the person who goes through hardship and sacrifice in obtaining the things of this world only to lose them and find out later that all that work and effort could have been used instead to please God. How different would be the state of their soul if they were not so foolish.
But most people do not think this way and go about their daily lives in a deep sleep, only to be faced with eternal truths, at the hour of death, when the scene is coming to a close.
Tell a friend “Let us go walk among the tombs of the dead” and they will most certainly rebuke you for being a rather strange and gloomy person. But the sepulchres there reveal truths to learn about the vanity of this world. From the corruption of bones and worms you cannot tell which belonged to the privaleged and which to the disadvantaged. You can only see that with death all the glories of the world were finished for them.
They have slept their sleep and found nothing in their hands
The science of the Saints is to know the love of God and to do Gods will. Consider how many people there are in the world who are well versed and educated. People who occupy the top positions of society. But what does this profit them if they know not the love of God. Let us not envy those who are loved by the world. But let us envy those who know little of earthly wisdom but devote all their care to pleasing God.
Blessed are those who know God even if they know nothing else. Those that know God and love Him, though they may be ignorant of what others know, are more learned than the learned who know not how to love God.
For man was created for God and it is only God that can give him true peace. A person that does not know God is like a thirsty person standing in a fountain of water.
Part 2 – Love and suffering
Give a dog a bone, a horse a bundle of hay and they are perfectly content and desire nothing more. Many people in this world behave in exactly the same way. Just like lesser animals they are perfectly content with creature comforts and worldly pleasures that can only satisfy the senses and not satiate the soul. But man was not created for selfish indulgence and self gratification but for God alone who only can make him truly happy.
We must live our lives to please God and not ourselves. To please God is to live a life that is according to His will. This involves accepting all things, pleasant or unpleasant with joy and love because everything comes from God. We must give our lives totally to God as an offering to Him without reserve so that He can transform our nature and divinise it. All work and activity must be made as an offering of love and consecration to Him. Our lives must be a living sacrifice to our Heavenly Father.
Tribulations and sufferings will always come our way but we must accept these as part of the will of God. Most people flee from suffering and regard it as an impediment to happiness. Every day we experience tribulations and sufferings. These could be as simple as a broken toe-nail, being accused unjustly, or being asked for help at an inconvenient time.
But why does God allow suffering?
Suffering exists in the world due to sin. Due to the disobedience of Adam and Eve we live in a fallen world that involves suffering. While on earth Jesus worked many miracles of healing so clearly God never intended for us to suffer.
But when we offer our suffering to God we perform an act of perfect love and devotion. By doing this we are performing an action most disagreeable to our human nature. We are unmasking and expelling all worldly attachments. This becomes a gift of inestimable value to Our Lord who showers us with infinite wellsprings of grace.
According to the saints there is no greater love, joy and peace that can be experienced other than by doing the will of God. It is suffering that humbles us, strengthens us and brings us closer to God.
The extent to which we accept tribulations and sufferings for God is a measure of our love for Him. It is precisely by suffering that God proves His servants and finds them worthy of Himself.
“To suffer constantly for Jesus is the science of the Saints” – St Francis de Sales
Therefore love and suffering are one and the same. There is no greater proof of love than that of Our Lord Jesus Christ who suffered and died to save His very executioners.