Pope St. Gregory the Great, having heard that one of his noble friends had suddenly fallen on hard times, advises his friend to bear adversity with patience. But Gregory doesn’t stop with sympathy and advice: he also gives the material help he knows his friend needs, but might be too proud to ask for.
I know all about your troubles with the things of this world. But our only comfort when we are in the deepest trouble is the mercy of the Creator. Put your hope in him, and turn to him with your whole heart, for he justly allows whoever he wills to be troubled, but will mercifully deliver anyone who trusts in him.
Give thanks to him, then, and endure what has happened to you with patience. A right-thinking person not only blesses God in prosperity, but also in adversity joins in his praises.
In your sufferings, therefore, do not let any grumbling against God creep into your heart, since we do not know what purpose God has in doing these things. Perhaps, magnificent son, you offended him somehow when you were prosperous, and he wants to purge that sin from you with kindly bitterness. So do not let worldly troubles bear you down, and do not be distracted by the loss of your property. If you give thanks in adversity and make God favorable to you, not only are the things you lost multiplied, but you have the prospect of eternal joy.
I beg you not to be offended, however, that I have arranged through Romanus the guardian to order twenty suits of clothing to be supplied to your servants. –St. Gregory the Great, Letter 31IN GOD’S PRESENCE, CONSIDER . . .
Do I bear my own hard times with patience and thanksgiving?
When others I know fall on hard times, do I give them real help as well as sympathy?
Father, you guide us with kindness and rule us with love. Through the prayers of St. Gregory, give the spirit of wisdom to all those who lead the Church.
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