Paul, Silvanus, and Timothy, To the church of the Thessalonians in God our Father and the Lord Jesus Christ: Grace to you and peace from God our Father and the Lord Jesus Christ. We must always give thanks to God for you, brothers and sisters, as is right, because your faith is growing abundantly, and the love of everyone of you for one another is increasing. Therefore we ourselves boast of you among the churches of God for your steadfastness and faith during all your persecutions and the afflictions that you are enduring.
This is evidence of the righteous judgment of God, and is intended to make you worthy of the kingdom of God, for which you are also suffering.
To this end we always pray for you, asking that our God will make you worthy of his call and will fulfill by his power every good resolve and work of faith, so that the name of our Lord Jesus may be glorified in you, and you in him, according to the grace of our God and the Lord Jesus Christ.
New Revised Standard Version, copyright 1989, by the National Council of the Churches of Christ in the United States of America. Used by permission. All rights reserved. USCCB approved.
Simone Weil once said that the extraordinary greatness of Christianity is not that it provides us with medicine against suffering, but that it gives perspective to suffering.
In today’s first reading, St. Paul cited the deep faith and steadfastness of the Thessalonians as they faced persecution and affliction. Their example encourages us to lean on our faith as we face the demands of life.
The crucifix is a constant reminder that suffering is part of life. Many of life’s problems and challenges have no answers; we can only live with, in and through them. When faced with crushing troubles, it is especially important to remember that we are not alone in our suffering. Our faith and our relationship with God assure us that God will never abandon us, and that he will give us patience and strength in our suffering.
Speak to God about a problem that has no answer. Then listen!
—Sister Ruth Hoerig is a writer and co-editor of Alive magazine and social media content developer for the School Sisters of St. Francis. She is author of Seeds of Hope: Catholic Sisters in Action Around the World.
O Christ Jesus,
when all is darkness
and we feel our weakness and helplessness, give us the sense of Your presence,
Your love, and Your strength.
Help us to have perfect trust
in Your protecting love and strengthening power,
so that nothing may frighten or worry us, for, living close to You,
we shall see Your hand, Your purpose, Your will through all things. Amen.
—Unknown, often attributed to St. Ignatius of Loyola