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Theresa Joseph wrote:

Hi, guys —

  • Why do we have more problems in life when we come closer to God?
  • Does God still continue to punish us for our past sins though we have confessed them and have asked for His Mercy?

I find so many of my friends and relatives who, do not go to church, have no family prayers, and go on no retreats but their life is still full of happiness and going good. They succeed in all they do.

I am confused.

  • Where are we going wrong?
  • Though we have surrendered everything to God, why do we get disturbed when something good happens to others and not to us?
  • Why do we then start complaining to God internally saying:
  • What about us?
  • Why not us? and
  • When will my turn come, O Lord.
Theresa
  { Why do things go better for those who don't go to church, have no family prayers, etc. than for us? }

Bob replied:

Theresa,

As you become closer to God you will experience trials. This is part of the Christian journey.

Jesus told us that we must be prepared to carry our cross. This is not God punishing us for past sins but rather allowing us to share in the sufferings of Christ for the sake of our love for others. Jesus gave His Life for others, and asks us to do the same.

  • Are you willing to offer up all your trials for others who struggle more than you do?
  • Would you suffer pain if it meant that someone else's soul could be saved?

Think of someone contemplating suicide, or homosexuality, or drug addiction or even abortion. There are so many souls in so much pain but so few people think about them or pray for them, but most importantly offer sacrifice for them. Our prayers and sacrifices will apply directly to them if we ask God to help them. Make your burdens a love offering.

We each have crosses we must bear. The problem comes when we no longer feel joy in our lives; this amplifies the pain of living. If you aren't experiencing joy and gladness in your soul for your salvation, you need to change that. Spend some time reflecting on the great gift of Eternal Life promised to you in Christ Jesus. Pray the Rosary and meditate on the mysteries. You must find joy again or you will not be able to bear your crosses. If you have any depression or other issues, deal with that as well.

Lastly, the greatest saints suffered a great deal, but people know them for the joy in which they lived. Think about that. God's love is something to rejoice in. If we lose sight of that, we lose the joy.

Happiness from temporary things in this world was never promised to us, and that can be seen clearly in the lives of Jesus, his mother Mary, and all the Apostles who were essentially martyred so don't envy those who seem happy because their circumstances here seem great. Remember, the first shall be last and the last shall be first. (Matthew 20:16) We will have eternal happiness when we reach the fulfillment of the promise of God.

Maybe the best thing would be to read some of the lives of the saints, or the story of the children of Fatima. Find your inspiration to make the struggle joyful. You will see things differently and happiness will come, but in a better way.

Peace,

Bob Kirby

Theresa replied:

Thanks Bob!

. . . for the spiritual guidance and making me aware of the presence of God in my trials and sufferings.

Praise the Lord Hallelujah!!

God Bless you!

Theresa

Mike replied:

Hi, Theresa —

In addition to Bob's fine answer, I just wanted to share what the Catechism says on the vice of envy:

I. The Disorder of Covetous Desires
.
.
2538 The tenth commandment requires that envy be banished from the human heart. When the prophet Nathan wanted to spur King David to repentance, he told him the story about the poor man who had only one ewe lamb that he treated like his own daughter and the rich man who, despite the great number of his flocks, envied the poor man and ended by stealing his lamb. (cf. 2 Samuel 12:14) Envy can lead to the worst crimes. (cf. Genesis 4:3-7; 1 Kings 21:1-29) Through the devil's envy death entered the world: (Wisdom 2:24)

We fight one another, and envy arms us against one another. . . .

  • If everyone strives to unsettle the Body of Christ, where shall we end up?

We are engaged in making Christ's Body a corpse. . . . We declare ourselves members of one and the same organism, yet we devour one another like beasts. (St. John Chrysostom, Homily in 2 Corinthians 2)

2539 Envy is a capital sin. It refers to the sadness at the sight of another's goods and the immoderate desire to acquire them for oneself, even unjustly. When it wishes grave harm to a neighbor it is a mortal sin:

St. Augustine saw envy as the diabolical sin.
(cf. St. Augustine, De Catechizandis Rudibus 4,8: PL 40,315-316)

"From envy are born hatred, detraction, calumny, joy caused by the misfortune of a neighbor, and displeasure caused by his prosperity."
(St. Gregory the Great, Moralia in Job 31, 45:PL 76,621)

2540 Envy represents a form of sadness and therefore a refusal of charity; the baptized person should struggle against it by exercising good will. Envy often comes from pride; the baptized person should train himself to live in humility:

Would you like to see God glorified by you? Then rejoice in your brother's progress and you will immediately give glory to God. Because his servant could conquer envy by rejoicing in the merits of others, God will be praised. (St. John Chrysostom, Homily. in Romans: PG 60,448)

Hope this helps,

Mike

Theresa replied:

Thanks Mike,

It is indeed a difficult task to praise the person whom you envy the most. It requires a lot of courage to accept the situation. I would willingly want to do the same but need to control my heart and mind. It indeed disturbs the entire system.

Please remember me in your prayers. I shall l try to overcome this by offering up my prayers in this area in the Eucharist.

Theresa

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