Fr. Jeronimo’s talk explores the theme of maintaining faith during life’s storms. He delves into the significance of understanding Jesus’ choice to redeem through suffering and how it can reshape our perspective on personal hardships.
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Printable Study Guide PDF
Printable Transcript PDF
Reflective Study Guide Questions
“We know that all things work for good for those who love God, who are called according to His purpose.”Rom. 8:28.
1. Fr. Jeronimo points out that God could have chosen to save humanity by a mere snap of His fingers, rather than through the suffering of the Cross. How can contemplating Jesus’ choice to redeem us through suffering change the way you view suffering in your own life?
2. Scripture tells us that suffering can produce such things in our lives as perseverance, patience, and hope. What virtues might God be cultivating in your life through your current sufferings or difficulties?
3. Fr. Jeronimo says that we often tend to approach prayer with an agenda, rather than just seeking to be with God. Do you ever approach prayer with an agenda? How can you shift focus in your prayer life to being with God?
4. God often uses suffering to bring beauty, meaning, or a deeper purpose to our lives. When has God brought meaning or purpose out of suffering in your life in the past?
Text: Faith Amidst the Storms in Life
Hello friends, my name is Father Jeronimo. I am originally from Colombia, South America. I have dedicated my life to serve the youth, and I’ve been doing it for the past 20 years. Before entering the seminary, I studied animal science. And after being ordained, I got my master’s degree in youth ministry at the University of Taras. I love to accompany people, especially youngsters in their healing journey. Okay, enough about me, and let’s just go into our prayer.
In the name of the Father and the Son and the Holy Spirit, amen. Come, Holy Spirit. fill the hearts of your faithful and kindling them the fire of your love. I Want to give you today our hearts and everything that we have in them. Come and restore, come and repair, come and draw in us. We give you permission. We want to yield any barrier we may have, any fear that we could be feeling. Come, Holy Spirit, and work in us. Thank you for the opportunity you are giving us today to enter into communion. In Jesus’, name we pray, amen. The Father and the Son and the Holy Spirit, Amen.
Okay friends, welcome to this first talk where we are going to dive into how can we live with faith amidst the storms in our lives. We’re going to dive into deep waters, but always with Christ. So, Fear not, I do not know if you have ever realized that that is one of the most used sentences in Scripture: “Fear not.” Jesus Himself used it several times in the whole Scripture. To be accurate, it’s a total of 365 times, like one for each day, right? Isn’t that crazy? These words I want you to feel He’s pouring into you during our time together: fear not.
You may be asking, “Why am I talking about fear, if the talk is about how to live in freedom or in Christ in the midst of difficulties?” Well, friends, because without a doubt, we can agree that life is messy. Life has its disasters and it is complicated. The sooner we realize this, the better. Friends, why? Because that is one of the conditions of our fallen nature. That’s one of the four curses we inherit from our forefathers.
But again, fear not, we have Christ in our sight, even though we feel most of the times that He has forsaken us, and that’s normal that we can feel that. But the difficulties we may be experiencing and the ones that we will experience, and here it is not about if; it is when can we stretch our capacity for love, for virtue and for God. There is no earthly pilgrim who is exempt of this reality, the reality of suffering.
Again, my aim is not to scare you. I want to share the truth that life is like a rollercoaster, right, up and down. But the power of Jesus over death by His Passover is what allows us to see the light on the road. And I do not mean only at the end, but in the midst of the difficulties and the tragedies and the messiness of your life and of my life.
Jesus and His Suffering
Jesus conquered death by His life, death, and resurrection. And it is feeling that He did so in the cross. Have you ever stopped to ponder why He decided to save us on the cross using sufferance?
Friends, I love Marvel movies. I don’t know about you, but they make impossible things, and we want to live that reality. In their core, we find it’s just goodness, right, like I want to be not selfish. But that is fake. All those movies, it’s fakes. They are not real. Those superheroes act in ways that are almost impossible for each one of us. They look like they were created, and everything is like in a script. And yes, it is a script. They are a script.
But if you remember the “Infinity War” saga of the Avengers, they were fighting against what? Thanos, which in Greek, it’s the word for death. They were facing what? A war with death. In the movie, when humanity and the universe is finally safe, it is because Ironman, yeah, snaps his fingers like this, right, mocking Thanos and bringing everyone to life. And that’s a powerful moment.
We could ask ourselves: “Why didn’t Jesus save us doing something like that? Why suffer? Why endure excruciating pain?” Well, because that wouldn’t address the issue of suffering. God decided to save even that for us. He gave meaning to the absurd, to the nonsense and stupidity of suffering. It is meaningless, but through Him we have redeemed suffering. But how to suffer, well, if that’s a proper word, effort, how to suffer.
Well, perseverance is the word here. There is a text from Saint Paul to Romans 5:3-5. It uses a Greek word, “hypomone”. If you’ll allow me, and of course you’ll allow me, you have no choice, I want to explain the etymology of the word. “Hypo” means under, right, and “mone” means to remain, to endure, properly, to remain under that, to demonstrate perseverance, firmness. It refers especially to the capacity that God gives, then delivers, so that they can remain under challenges, right, and endure during challenges.
So now let me glue the previous two ideas together. We know that life is complicated and messy, and there is nothing to do. Likewise, we know that God has power, that He has already defeated death and give us His divine life. And it is he himself who give us that ability to remain firm in those moments of tribulation, bewilderment and sadness and anguish. The complete text of Roman is read and like this.
But we are not only proud of this, but also of suffering. patience and perseverance is proven virtue, and proven virtue, hope. And our hope does not leave us ashamed, because the love of God has been poured out into our hearts through the Holy Spirit that has given to us, right? So it is beautiful. Perseverance, that’s hypomone, right? Who give you the ability to remain firm when everything is a disaster? God, Jesus Christ, and no one else. He’s capable because He saved us. Because Jesus loved us and saved us and adorned us all with this ability. Because we know that everything contributes to the good of who love to God. Look to this: everything, everything.
A New Way of Praying
Paul says in the same Romans in chapter 8:28. I hope that you can write all those texts that I’m just giving you, and after this talk you can find a space to meditate on them and with them, with Jesus in prayer. They’re really powerful. We will see victory if we are connected with Him, perseverance, and knowing that He will deliver. Nonetheless, this verse is really tricky for us in the world, right? We want to control. We want to know everything. We don’t want to suffer, and we’re not patient. We need to be patient and let time with Jesus settle the dust. Not just time for the sake of time, but time with Jesus. We need also to mature in the way we approach to prayer, right? And I don’t want to go deep into this or confuse you, but I think that also the key to live a life of faith in the midst of our suffering, it is a game-changer.
What? That we approach prayer with agenda. Sometimes we do that. We want to take something out of it instead of being with Him. In other words, one-on-one to to tell you is that we want something from God instead of God Himself. It is also true that a lot of people in the middle of those difficult situations turn their faces to Jesus, because it’s the only thing left they have to do, or even nothing else to lose. And yes, Jesus can use that to lure us, but it is not that He wills are suffering so we can come, like crawling to Him. No, no, no. He doesn’t work like that. He’s love. That is not the way that He works in us. He uses every opportunity, not that he will start suffering.
A new idea also in your prayer, to ask Jesus not why but for what? What can He work in the midst of this anguish that you may be living? That is an honest and true prayer. Right now you may be saying, “Okay Father, everything sounds very nice. But things are more complex than how you are painting them or presenting to us.” And it is true. But what I am telling you is also true: how to stand there still and firm in faith. Well, you have to trust. We have to trust. The grace of God is that, a hand to all who ask for it and seek it.
You have to ask for the grace and to trust. This is another key word, right? It looks like we are full of keywords today, but yes, trust. Repeat after me: “Jesus, I trust in you. Jesus, I trust in you.” It is saying this as a short prayer. It’s like a rehabilitation of our understanding, our will and our freedom. And when we suffer, we participate in the mystery of salvation, right? Paul says that we participate and we add this to the suffering of Christ. What happens to our first parents is that they did not trust our heavenly Father. And that is what happens every time and again and again when we fall into sin; we decide not to trust God, His plan of love for our lives. And we have, yeah, sometimes to hit the wall and the world hard. We must tell Jesus in the midst of the storm that we trust Him, and we must do acts of trust in Jesus looking only at Him. The disciples were in the middle of the storm, and they talked to Jesus. So just do that. Talk to Him.
Do you remember Peter also asking Jesus to walk on the water like Jesus was doing? Well, he start and he does it. But then he focuses on him and not on Jesus. And when he looks away from Him, and therefore he withdraws his trust in Jesus, and therefore he what? He falls in, almost drowns. Well, this is exactly what happens to you, to me. It is this installment that we find our freedom. The key to surrender to the divine plan is trust. If we open our hearts to God plans, He will guide us. But we must be patient: hypomone. And we have to trust in Him and say, “Jesus, I trust in you.”
Suffering in Our Lives
Friends, let’s go back a bit into the subject of suffering. Suffering put us into touch, into what it is really important. Sometimes we suffer unnecessarily because there are so many things in our life that depend on us, and yet we don’t depend on that. And yet we get hooked. We lose our peace and our freedom and our joy and that the joy disappears. God plan will always be better than ours. And not like we want to catch a glimpse of that or grasp it. No, no, no. We need to know. Remember that what we talked about, our prayer is to be there and to trust and say, “God, I want to trust in you. I want to have time with you.” It doesn’t matter if it’s long, if it’s short, have time with Him. And be alone. Listen to Him. Listen to His voice, listen to His plan, and always share your anguish. It is okay to share your anguish, right? Friends, I want you in this moment to recall a time in your life where you thought that something went south but turned into something beautiful. This was the life of Saint Joseph, right? Joseph had a plan. And then the plan got mixed.
So what miracle happened in your life today? The miracle of life, the miracle of friends the miracle of laughter. I woke up this morning and the sun was hitting in my face through the window. It is good to be alive, right? Surely you and I do not understand why we’re alive, why we wake up every day, how I breathe, why am I breathing today. And the other things, we don’t understand everything and it is normal. It is okay. We have to let God and let God, yeah. It sounds cheesy, but it’s okay: let God. And that’s the truth in His wisdom. He has used a variety of means to show a man His way. In the Scripture, we read over and over and over again about how man is conscious with God. God told Adam. God spoke to Moses saying this. God spoke to Abraham. God speaks. God speaks. Why are so many people, especially people of faith, so surprised to hear that God has communicated with someone?
Well, we have to pray. Praying to listen, what is this plan? How can you work through this, right? The divine gardener wishes to work the land. The divine gardener wishes to irrigate the Earth, and he wants to pull out the weeds and place the flower where it can get just the right amount of sunlight. God is your Father. God is my Father. He’s a loving Father with a wonderful plan for His children, regardless of the best plan that you and I can make for ourselves and the great power that we have in our imagination, His plan is always better. It is greater and it is more exciting. Believe in His plan. Ask Him to reveal His plan to you. And yes, listen to Him.
Life is Messy
Friends, I don’t know if I went too fast, but remember, life is complicated. Life is messy. Life is sometimes a disaster So the sooner we realize this, the better. Why? Because it’s one of our conditions, our fallen nature. But we are meant to not be afraid, right? Be not afraid, because Jesus is there. Jesus already conquered death through His passion, the life and resurrection. And that’s why he allows us to see the light at the end of the road and in the middle of the road. And it is important to trust in Him and to give our hearts to Him. And that’s why Paul says to us, “Hypomone,” right? Paul to the Romans. So hypomone, to what? To have, to endure under oppression. So knowing that everything will contribute to the good of those who love God, right? So it is important to trust in Him. So Jesus wants to be with us. And to trust Him is to share with Him everything that we have, everything that we have in our hearts. So trust and say, “Jesus, you know, this is terrible. I’m going through this.” Just show, be there, because in the middle of the situation, Jesus can help us.
So trusting like Peter, trusting like say in Joseph, right, is difficult, but we have to give control to him and be honest with him on what’s happening, right? And remember that what appears to be a disaster from our perspective, it is a very meaningful one from God’s perspective. Friends, I hope you can dwell on this. Maybe it’s a lot of information; maybe it’s not that much. Just ponder into this in your notes. May God bless you and accompany you.
About Father Jeronimo Espinosa
Father Jeronimo Espinosa is a Colombian priest. He is in love with Jesus Christ and His Church, and has decided to dedicate his life to serve its people. Before entering the seminary, he studied animal sciences. But after being ordained and getting a master’s degree in youth ministry at the University of Dallas, his passion and calling is to serve and accompany young people on their journey of healing and wholeness.