by Lesle Knop
You never told me it would be like this.
Can you hear the frustration, perhaps even anguish and despair, in those words?
In every human life, difficulties happen. Facing foreclosure? A chronic illness? A substance-abusing child? The death of a spouse?
These are difficulties that cause real pain. Then there are other struggles: balancing the budget, cranky co-workers, and traffic jams. The question we should ask is: How do we bear life’s challenges?
In the Gospel of Mark, we read, “He then began to teach them that the Son of Man must suffer greatly and be rejected by the elders, the chief priests and the scribes, and be killed, and rise after three days” (8:31).
It is the word “must” that tells us that everything that happened to Jesus Christ was part of God’s plan. The pain, humiliation and eventual death on the cross that Our Lord suffered were ordained by God.
Without the suffering, there could be no Resurrection.
When I think of sacrifice and challenges, I often hear these words from the hymn “Amazing Grace”: “Through many dangers, toils and snares, I have already come; ‘Tis Grace that brought me safe thus far and Grace will lead me home.”
In a few weeks, the Catholic Foundation of Northeast Kansas will honor an individual and a Catholic institution with the first Deo Gratias Awards at a dinner at Savior Pastoral Center. On Nov. 3, Michael Murphy, an excellent speaker and executive director of the International Catholic Stewardship Council, will talk about Catholic stewardship. All fund holders, parish and school leaders, pastors and members of the Catholic Legacy Society are invited. If you would like to attend, please contact me at my email address below.
I have thought a great deal about the remarkable recipients of this year’s honors, and the fact that they have exhibited amazing grace in spite of their challenges.
The recipients are Charles Berkel, of Shawnee, and Bishop Ward High School in Kansas City, Kan. They were chosen from among hundreds of Catholic Legacy Society members in the archdiocese and fund-holders of the CFNEK.
It is difficult to imagine either Mr. Berkel, who generously supports numerous Catholic causes, or the faculty, alumni and students of the determined high school in the heart of Wyandotte County to ever complain, “You never told me it would be like this.”
Instead, I think we would hear these words from them: “Thanks be to God.”