|Rembrand'ts The Raising of Lazarus|
God helps those who help themselves!
I have to make an effort. I can't just sit at home on Sunday and say "God knows what's in my heart, I don't have to belong to a church for Him to know I love Him".
I can't continue to wallow in the same sin and say "God made these things for me to enjoy, He does not expect me to deprive myself of this or that pleasure."
I can't carry the decay of sin around with me and say "I know God forgives me, so I don't have to confess this to a priest, who is a weak human being himself."
I can't spend the bare minimum in prayer and demand God's friendship only when it suits me.
I can't continue to harbor the decay of jealousy, resentment and impatience with others and expect God to ignore my faults simply because He loves me. It is precisely because He loves me that He wants to help me shed myself of these sins.
I'm always intrigued by the fact that Christ delayed His visit to Lazarus, Martha and Mary, yet wept with the sisters when He saw their grief. He had to permit things to happen so that the greater glory of God would come from it. Still, His heart being both human and divine, He was moved with pity by how much they mourned their brother.
There are times when it seems very hard to carry on, when I begin to question whether something I cannot even comprehend is worth the trials and tribulations of this life. In these instances, the Lord makes me wait longer than I think He should to show me that He is listening. But when He responds, what relief and what joy! St. Therese wrote about this when discussing faith in Story of a Soul (p. 142)
"...the One Whose Heart watches even when He sleeps made me understand that to those whose faith is like that of a mustard seed He grants miracles and moves mountains in order to strengthen this faith, which is still small; but for His intimate friends, for His Mother, He works no miracles before testing their faith. Did He not allow Lazarus to die even after Martha and Mary told Him he was sick?....But after trial, what reward! ... Lazarus raised from the dead! Thus Jesus acted toward His little Therese, after having tried her for a long time, He granted all the desires of her heart."