Patiently enduring Crosses while praying God remove them

September 19, 2021 • 5 min

From Wisdom and Wit of Blessed Thomas More, page 51

May We Seek to Remove Crosses?

I think in very deed tribulation so good and profitable, that I should haply doubt wherefore a man might labour or pray to be delivered of it, saving that God, which teacheth us the one, teacheth us also the other.

And as He biddeth us take our pain patiently, and exhort our neighbours to do also the same; so biddeth He us also not to let to do our devoir [duty] to remove the pain from us both.

And then when it is God that teacheth both [i.e. patiently enduring a tribulation, and praying God to deliver us from it], I shall not need to break my brain in devising wherefore He would bid us do both, the one seeming to resist the other.

If He send the scourge of scarcity and of famine, He will we shall bear it patiently, but yet will He that we shall eat our meat when we can hap to get it.

If He send us the plague of pestilence, He will that we shall patiently take it; but yet will He that let us blood, and lay plasters to draw it, and ripe it, and lance it, and get it away.

Both these points teacheth God in Scripture in more than many places.

Fasting is better than eating, and more thank hath of God; and yet will God that we shall eat.

Praying is better than drinking, and much more pleasant to God; and yet will God that we shall drink.

Waking in good business is much more acceptable to God than sleeping; and yet will God that we shall sleep.

God have given us our bodies here to keep, and will that we maintain them to do Him service with, till He send for us hence. Now, can we not tell surely how much tribulation may mar it, or peradventure hurt the soul also?

Wherefore the apostle, after that he had commanded the Corinthians to deliver to the devil the abominable fornicator that forbare not the bed of his own father’s wife: yet after that he had been awhile accursed and punished for his sin, the apostle commanded them charitably to receive him again and give him consolation, “that the greatness of his sorrow should not swallow him up”. And, therefore, when God sendeth the tempest, He will that the shipmen shall get them to their tackling, and do the best they can for themselves, that the sea eat them not up.

For help ourselves as well as we can, He can make His plague as sore, and as long lasting, as Himself list. And as He will that we do for ourselves, so will He that we do for our neighbour too: and that we shall in this world be each to other piteous, and not sine affectione, for which the apostle rebuketh them that lack their tender affections here, so that of charity sorry should we be for their pain too, upon whom (for cause necessary) we be driven ourselves to put it.

And whoso saith, that for pity of his neighbour’s soul he will have none of his body, let him be sure that (as St. John saith, he that loveth not his neighbour whom he seeth, loveth God but a little whom he seeth not): so he that hath no pity on the pain that he seeth his neighbour feel afore him, pitieth little (whatsoever he say) the pain of his soul that he seeth not yet.

God sendeth us also such tribulation sometime, because His pleasure is to have us pray unto Him for help.

And, therefore, when St. Peter was in prison, the Scripture showeth that the whole Church without intermission prayed incessantly for him; and that at their fervent prayer God by miracle delivered him.

When the disciples in the tempest stood in fear of drowning, they prayed unto Christ and said: “Save us, Lord, we perish”. And then at their prayer He shortly ceased the tempest.

And now see we proved often, that in sore weather or sickness, by general processions God giveth gracious help. And many a man in his great pain and sickness, by calling upon God, is marvellously made whole.

This is God’s goodness, that because in wealth we remember Him not, but forget to pray to Him, sendeth us sorrow and sickness to force us to draw toward Him, and compelleth us to call upon Him and pray for release of our pain.

Whereby when we learn to know Him, and seek to Him, we take a good occasion to fall after into farther grace.

* Dialogue of Comfort, Works, 1160.

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