Cutting Us Down to Size

October 30, 2013

Meat Grinder by Sam Bourland [CC0], via Wikimedia Commons

Meat Grinder by Sam Bourland [CC0], via Wikimedia Commons

Our journey towards sainthood can be compared to being put through a meat grinder. I’m old enough to know what meat grinders look like in action, having personally observed the cook use one in the convent where I once lived. A slab of a former cow is reduced to a pile of hamburger on its way to filling the stomachs of the hungry and so it is with us in our transformation along the way to heaven. God, our heavenly chef makes mincemeat out of us to shape us into something useful and delicious to feed those hungry for salvation.

Being ground up to bits is not fun. We can’t endure it without the grace of faith. St. Therese of Lisieux knew this well, writing in Story of a Soul, “I have made more acts of faith during the past year than in all the rest of my life.” In this case she was speaking of the dark night of the soul, but her words could just as easily apply to all the circumstances we face when God allows us to endure situations which afflict, humble, and mortify us.

In meditation #351 of Divine Intimacy Father Gabriel of St. Mary Magdalene writes:

It will sometimes be easier to accept heavy trials which come directly from Our Lord, such as illness and bereavement, than other lighter ones where creatures enter into play, and for which, perhaps, we experience greater repugnance. The immediate action of creatures, especially if their malice has a share in it, makes it more difficult for us to discover the divine hand. A greater spirit of faith is necessary here, that we may pass beyond the human side of circumstances, the faulty way of acting of such and such a person, and find, beyond all these human contingencies, the dispositions of divine Providence, which wills to use these particular creatures, and even their defects and errors, to file away our self-love and destroy our pride.

God’s divine plan has placed us with our parents, our siblings, our bosses and coworkers, the service people at the grocery store, restaurants, and gas stations, and all others we encounter in our daily lives. Sometimes all goes well for us in our interactions, and sometimes the people we live with or meet while conducting daily business act like teeth in a meat grinder. By the time they get done with us we feel like a lump of raw flesh. Then we are tempted to give those people a lot of air time in our heads, devising all sorts of come backs and tortures for them in our imagination, stuck in the immediate past and blind to the hand of God behind it all.

St. Paul tells us in 1 Thess. 4: 3 “…For this is the will of God, your sanctification…”. It is, all day every day, in every encounter, God’s will that we become holier, more humble, more charitable, more self-sacrificing. He knows what we need to be transformed into the image of Jesus, and is the expert in tough love.

Instead of indulging in feelings of resentment towards those chewing away at us, we need to develop the habit of asking God, “Lord, what is it You wish me to learn from this?” Instead of asking, “Why does this always happen to me?” we should be asking, “Lord, what new way of thinking and acting do you desire from me?”

If we look behind the surface of everything that happens to us and think about how God is loving us through even those things that are disagreeable, painful, or abhorrent to us, we will likely be inspired as St. Therese was, to make supernatural acts of faith. However God chooses to transform us, we can always be sure it is for our sanctification and those we are an example to, and an opportunity to strengthen our will in conformity to His.

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Wednesday, October 30th, 2013 spirituality

5 Comments to Cutting Us Down to Size

  1. Barb:

    How easy it is to say “fiat” but oh how so difficult to live it.

    Great post. Thank you.

  2. Michael Seagriff on November 3rd, 2013
  3. I had to smile at “then we are tempted to give those people a lot of air time in our heads” – oh yes, I’ve given many people a lot of “air time” in my head over the years and I agree that God is trying to teach us something in these instances. Course, I don’t always get it…
    Mary recently posted..Great New Blog!

  4. Mary on November 4th, 2013
  5. Yes, I have to catch myself doing it. It seems that the more emotional the issue is the harder it is to turn off. When I finally got it, that we have to turn to God for our answer, things got a little easier.

  6. barb on November 4th, 2013
  7. Great post.
    I heard a true story of a woman, who, when her toddler was hit and killed by a car, said – what am I supposed to learn from this? And she helped her family turn to God and trust Him and heal. She never asked, Why me?
    I never forgot that story and now when a crisis happens, I ask the same question. What am I supposed to learn from this? What does God want me to know?
    Her story was too powerful to ignore.
    Colleen recently posted..Deo Gratias – Cooler Weather

  8. Colleen on November 6th, 2013
  9. Now that was a woman of faith for sure. No doubt her baby is looking after her from heaven, too.

  10. barb on November 6th, 2013


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