Turn it around

Today begins the month of November and it starts with a bang: Solemnity of All Saints. What a way to begin the month, celebrating those who have gone before us and made it to heaven, praying for us to join them there one day. Then we have day 2 of November, praying for All Souls who are guaranteed Heaven but not just there yet, as their souls are purified by their own suffering and helped along by prayers, sufferings and sacrifices offered up on their behalf. They too are praying for us to be heaven bound and living already in the Kingdom of God.

But as we reflect on our own destiny, longing to be in heaven with all the saints, sometimes it can be hard to imagine how wonderful and awesome Heaven is when the world around us, created good and beautiful, does not always reflect the goodness with which God created it. It can be hard to see how the circumstances in our lives are part of God's bigger plan, continuing the story of salvation, pointing us toward heaven.

Recently in a Bible study, we went over the story of Joseph in Genesis (the Joseph with the "coat of many colors," nicknamed by his brothers "the dreamer.") Joseph was especially loved by his father, but through the jealousy of his siblings, was betrayed, sold into slavery, put unjustly into prison and framed for crimes he did not commit, but he remained faithful to God and did not lose hope, despite being seemingly forgotten by both God and man.

In God's time, he was freed from prison and received more blessings than he had received in whole his life. He was put in charge of all of Pharoah's affairs and given both riches and power. Through what Joseph suffered at the hands of his brothers and the events that would seem to have destroyed Joseph's life, they actually placed him in a place where not only he was saved from famine, but he was able to save his whole family and all Israelites. God gave him the grace to forgive those who had betrayed him and to take his situation to use it for good, even for those who had caused him suffering. He was able to see God's hand in the situations of his life and become a blessing and source of hope to others. He was able to turn suffering into a blessing.

Few, if any of us, make it to this point in our lives without having been touched by suffering, betrayal, disappointment or perhaps being disillusioned by life in general.  But in all of this, let us trust in God's plan and take heart in the examples of the lives of the saints. Let us implore the grace of God, through their intercession, to be the answer to another's prayer and to be Jesus' hands and feet in the world today. All the angels and saints in heaven, pray for us.

"We know that all things work for good for those who love God, who are called according to his purpose. For those he foreknew he also predestined to be conformed to the image of his Son, so that he might be the firstborn among many brothers." (Rom 8:28-29)
In fond memory of my uncle, Jesus Geraldo, who died unexpectedly 10/30/22. May his soul and all the souls of the faithful departed through the mercy of God rest in peace. Amen.

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