“Save us from the time of trial.”
I have had for many years now a real problem with the words, “And lead us not into temptation” in the traditional version of The Lord’s Prayer. The words do not seem appropriate. I am glad that the New Revised Standard Version of the Bible and The Book of Common Prayer have given us the words, “Save us from the time of trial.”
These words should disturb us a bit. It seems that God does not always save us from the time of trial. Ask anyone who is suffering from cancer, bullying, dementia, being stalked or grieving the loss of a loved one if they feel as if they are being saved from the time of their trial. Were the many Coptic Christians who have been killed over the past two months saved from their time of trial? How about the martyrs? How about Jesus’ moment of trial?
At Matins this morning, I read the following words from Resurrecting Easter: Meditations for the Great 50 Days by Kate Moorehead.
Resurrection is born out of the pit of death and despair. Moments of pain, moments of darkness and abandonment are the greatest moments to glorify God.
Jesus never promised us that we would not have moments of trial. Jesus Himself faced his trials. At one point, he was condemned at a trial and sentenced to death. Did God save Jesus from His moment of trial? Yes.
In the Person of Jesus, God walks through our times of trial with us. God helps us during the times of trial to learn new things about ourselves. God helps us to draw closer to Jesus through The Holy Spirit in those times of trial, so that we may be given a greater insight into our relationship with God and others. Whatever our trial is, we must believe that what is happening will not prevent God from bringing us to where God wants us.
As contemplatives, our “work” of grace is to search for union with God in all things, in all places and at all times; including, but certainly not limited to our times of trial. It is in those moments, that we find God who has already found us.
“The fourth step of humility is that in obedience under difficult, unfavorable, or even unjust conditions, his [the monk’s] heart quietly embraces suffering and endures it without weakening or seeking escape. For Scripture has it: Anyone who perseveres to the end will be saved (Matt 10:22), and again, Be brave of heart and rely on the Lord (Ps26:14)” (RB 1980: The Rule of Saint Benedict in Latin and English, Chapter 7;35-37, p.197).
How and where do you find God helping you from your time of trial?
Brother Anselm Philip King-Lowe, OSB