Summary of Trusting God in the Present by Fr. Jacques Philippe

Responding to Trials: Shifting from “Why” to “How”

“Every trial, no matter what its cause and characteristics are, is a trial of faith or of hope or of love. All three aspects are usually involved, with particular stress on one or the other” (13).

The Natural Response to Trials: Why?

  • Natural questions to ask: Trials in life usually lead us to ask “Why?”Why me? Why am I go through this? Why did God let this happen?
    • These are normal questions to ask, especially when we don’t understand why something is happening to us or to a loved one.
  • Victim mentality: The problem is that these kind of questions often lead to a victim mentality in which we blame & accuse others.

Jesus allowed Himself to experience every “Why?” we have ever faced when He cried out: “My God, my God, why have you forsaken me?” (Matthew 27:46).

The Supernatural Response to Trials: How?

  • Supernatural questions to ask: No matter how difficult of a situation we face in life, God always gives us the inner freedom to respond supernaturally to any trial with faith, hope, and love – How can I respond to this situation like a saint? with faith? or hope? or love?
    • These are grace-filled questions to ask, giving us the opportunity to find new meaning & purpose in the present moment of our trial.
  • Responsible mentality: By asking “how?” we take responsibility & focus our efforts on what we can control.

“You shall see for yourself that all manner of things shall be well… I can make all things well” (Jesus to Julian of Norwich).

1st example: St. Therese of Lisieux

  • We will discover, in the words of St. Therese, that “everything is grace.”
  • Trial of faith at the end of her life. Deep interior darkness. Lost the joy of heaven. Realized Jesus was offering her a chance to be purified of any overly human attachments to heaven and saw it as an invitation to pray for atheists.
  • “May my darkness serve to enlighten other souls!” (St. Therese).
  • She accepted her darkness.
  • Saw great meaning and purpose in her trial.

2nd example: Forgiving Others

  • Forgiving others is a great example of shifting from “why” to “how”
  • Forgiveness is always an act of faith, hope (change is possible), and love (to give without expecting anything in return). Forgiveness sets us free too – free from our past – free to receive God’s graces today.

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