Does God inconvenience you?

By Marlon De La Torre

North Texas Catholic

12/21/2015

A very intriguing aspect of Catholicism is the free will act to sacrifice and embrace suffering. For many, the notion of sacrifice is already beyond comprehension because of the belief that; “I’ve sacrificed enough.” The irony in this statement is its contradictory nature when placed in relation to Christ’s Crucifixion. The whole premise of God’s convenience toward man is eternal rest with Him in Heaven. Having the praeternatural gift of seeing God face to face and being with Him in heaven is not a bad proposition; the key is getting there, and this is where the notion of inconvenience comes in.

The prophet Jeremiah (12:1-3) offers us a glimpse of how we respond to the inconveniences of the world when he complains to God about the people he has to evangelize and his disdain for their wickedness and their prosperity in it. He goes on to say:

Why does the way of the wicked prosper? Why do all who are treacherous thrive? You plant them, and they take root; they grow and bring forth fruit; you are near their mouth and far from their heart. But you, O Lord, know me; you see me, and test my mind toward you. Pull them out like sheep for the slaughter, and set them apart for the day of slaughter.

Jeremiah’s method of dealing with these inconveniences is to simply have God wipe them out. Again the irony here is when pressed to freely obey, listen, and follow God many exhibit the same mindset toward God as the ultimate form of inconveniences because of what He asks from us e.g. The Ten Commandments. This tendency develops further when we expand our list of inconveniences to include Christ and the Church, thus eliminating every obstacle that stands in our way. We need look no further than the moral inconveniences people find in the sacrament of Holy Matrimony between one man and woman, the inconvenience of living a chaste life, or inconvenience of having a child and respecting the gift of life from conception to natural death. 

Our missionary responsibility
One thing is for certain, if Christ is our aim, we must have a genuine relationship with Him. God’s method for revealing his love was by setting us on a path toward his Son thus eliminating the inconveniences that would prevent us from having a relationship with his Son Jesus Christ if we so chose. The Catechism (2044) beautifully and clearly strengthens this point with respect to our missionary responsibility:

The fidelity of the baptized is a primordial condition for the proclamation of the Gospel and for the Church’s mission in the world. In order that the message of salvation can show the power of its truth and radiance before men, it must be authenticated by the witness of the life of Christians. The witness of a Christian life and good works done in a supernatural spirit have great power to draw men to the faith and to God.

A sound guess as to why some knowingly or unknowingly view God as an inconvenience is a genuine lack of missionary urgency to live out their baptismal call, let alone share their faith with others. Part of this phenomenon is a lack of understanding that they (we) are part of the family of God. And if this is the case, then our tendency would be to drift away from God to the point of actually viewing Him as an inconvenience. Again the Catechism (2045-2046) wisely offers us some sound words with respect to this point: 

Because they are members of the Body whose Head is Christ, Christians contribute to building up the Church by the constancy of their convictions and their moral lives. The Church increases, grows, and develops through the holiness of her faithful, until “we all attain to the unity of the faith and of the knowledge of the Son of God, to mature manhood, to the measure of the stature of the fullness of Christ.” By living with the mind of Christ, Christians hasten the coming of the Reign of God, “a kingdom of justice, love, and peace.” They do not, for all that, abandon their earthly tasks; faithful to their master, they fulfill them with uprightness, patience, and love.

The convenience of God
God does not cause inconveniences, we do. This reality is most visible in his Son Jesus Christ and the gift He left us in his Church and the means to expound on God’s mercy and love through the sacramental life, especially our Baptism. As I mentioned earlier, the Prophet Jeremiah had some choice words to tell God regarding the wretched people he had to deal with. God’s response to Jeremiah (12:14-17) fittingly reveals just how simply and conveniently God makes Himself available to all:

Thus says the Lord concerning all my evil neighbors who touch the heritage which I have given my people Israel to inherit: Behold, I will pluck them up from their land, and I will pluck up the house of Judah from among them. And after I have plucked them up, I will again have compassion on them, and I will bring them again each to his heritage and each to his land. And it shall come to pass, if they will diligently learn the ways of my people, to swear by my name, "As the Lord lives," even as they taught my people to swear by Baal, then they shall be built up in the midst of my people. But if any nation will not listen, then I will utterly pluck it up and destroy it, says the Lord. 

A very intriguing aspect of Catholicism is the free will act to sacrifice and embrace suffering. For many, the notion of sacrifice is already beyond comprehension because of the belief that; “I’ve sacrificed enough.” The irony in this statement is its contradictory nature when placed in relation to Christ’s Crucifixion. The whole premise of God’s convenience toward man is eternal rest with Him in Heaven. Having the praeternatural gift of seeing God face to face and being with Him in heaven is not a bad proposition; the key is getting there, and this is where the notion of inconvenience comes in.

Published