What is your scourge?

   I had the most wonderful conversation with a mom today.  She was telling me about her husband who is not Catholic.  She has never pressured him, and is grateful that he attends Mass faithfully each week and supports her being a Catholic mom.  But she sees herself as struggling, compared to Catholic families who are all Catholic.
    “The strange thing is,” she confided in me, “My youngest son is considering the priesthood!  I am shocked.  But he draws pictures of himself in the hand of God.  I asked him whether he wants to be a priest, or whether he feels God talking to him, calling him to be a priest, and my son said, ‘Both.'”  She teared up: “This is astonishing to me!  I did not realize we were on that path!”
    She did not realize that they were on that path, which means she did not think they were “Super Catholics.”  She thought of her family as barely passing as Catholics, just grateful that her husband cooperates with going to Mass.
    But I thought to myself: “Isn’t that how it is?  God gives us a cross, a scourge, something that keeps us very, very humble.  Then He can work with us.”
    As the New Testament says: “Humble yourself in the sight of the Lord, and He shall lift you up.”  We are truly lifted up, only when we are humble.  And often, He is generous enough to give us a scourge the helps us to be humble.  He offers it as a gift: our child marrying a non-Catholic, a divorce, an illness, a death, a disfigurement, a disorder, a mental illness.  He offers us these scourges, not to harm us, but to help us see that we are not perfect.  Oh, how horrible it would be if we thought we were!  We would be kept from “being lifted up!”  God allows us our crosses, out imperfections, our embarrassments, in order to make us saints.  Funny how we think we have to be picture perfect to be saints.  Actually, we have not to be perfect, in order to be saints.  Thank you, Lord, for our scourges!