Thursday, February 18, 2016

Do you avoid suffering? Or do you welcome it as a way of strengthening and shaping your character? - Daily Reflections February 18,2016

Few people now have the actual experience of pressing mature grated coconuts to extract coconut milk. It now comes in cans, imported mostly from Thailand or Taiwan, and are more processed than pressed manually. The best part in the pressing is seeing the milk ooze out of the grated strands of coconut meat. The rich and milky white nectar is unmistakably and deliciously aromatic, contrasting as it does with one’s darker fingers, busily engaged in getting the best from what it can only give by being crushed.
       Yes, dear friend, you can only get the best by doing the worst to nature’s gift that is the lowly coconut. You get the milk only if you crush the meat. I was told that Hadassah, the equivalent of Esther, really meant “myrtle,” and myrtle leaves pleasant aroma only when crushed. Esther had the worst imaginable nightmare for a woman, and for a Jew. Hers was a tough responsibility that even a man would cringe at having to face, let alone shoulder. But like the coconut, the myrtle that was Esther rose to the occasion, and delivered her best after being at her worst.
       I don’t wish it on everyone, but I can personally assure you of this. The best prayer times I had was when I hit rock bottom in my life — when I was a veritable pariah, when those I never expected to do so crushed me and made me suffer. For weeks and months, my every prayer, my constant utterance, what emerged from within me was always a prayer de profundis — from the depths!
       Here’s a prayer that best serves everyone in pain or pushed against the wall, real or figurative. Esther’s prayer is tailor fit for all who feel they have nowhere else to go. It is a prayer from the deep end of a swirling whirlpool of seeming hopelessness – a prayer that I would like to make my own, as we face insurmountable problems: “Save us from the hand of our enemies; turn our mourning into gladness and our sorrows into wholeness.” Fr. Chito Dimaranan, SDB
REFLECTION QUESTIONS: Do you avoid suffering? Or do you welcome it as a way of strengthening and shaping your character?
It’s not always pleasant to accept tribulations, Lord, but You know what’s best for me. Keep me in Your loving hands even as I go through the darkest moments of my life. Amen.

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