“This is the sign of the covenant that I am making between Me and you and every living creature.. I set My bow in the clouds.” (Gen.9:12-13a)
The other evening, I sat watching the rain falling heavily outside.
We don’t particularly like rain, as a general rule – most of us will prefer sunshine to rain. And yet, the rain is entirely necessary for the earth and for living things. We cannot survive without the water it brings – water which reveives and cleanses us, and which slakes our thirst. We bless God for the sunshine – but less so for the rain, no matter how necessary.
Similarly, in life generally we prefer the good times to the bad, the easy in preference over the difficult. And yet, it is often the more difficult moments of life which work towards establishing and strengthening our character. Iron is forged in the crucible, gold is tested in fire. And in the same way, for Catholics sanctity is often forged in suffering.
In the same way that rain is not what we would choose if we had any say in the matter, neither do we particularly relish the darker moments of life. And yet it is so often those darker moments which make us into the people we are – good or bad. It all depends on our response to those moments – what we do in them and what we do with them.
The great human tragedies of life, for example, often bring out the best in people – and usually people who are very ‘ordinary’, about whom we think there is nothing particularly special. Think of any great world tragedy and you will almost certainly think, too, of people who became luminous in the midst of that moment of darkness. The reason for this was their response to that darkness – instead of being enveloped by it, they shone as brightly as the stars by making good of it.
I pray that we, too, may respond in this way in those darker moments of life, whether they are big or small.