Monday, 26 October 2015

"This Too Shall Pass"

"Sunset in the Yosemite Valley", Albert Bierstadt, 1869
Many people attribute the titular quote to the Sacred Scripture, although it is actually never found there. There are similar sounding verses, for example, in 2 Cor 4:17-18: "For that which is at present momentary and light of our tribulation, worketh for us above measure exceedingly an eternal weight of glory. While we look not at the things which are seen, but at the things which are not seen. For the things which are seen, are temporal; but the things which are not seen, are eternal."

Regardless, I've been contemplating on "This too shall pass" a lot. Or rather, the quote has implanted itself in my mind so I can't stop thinking about it whenever and wherever.

People usually think about the quote or say it to themselves during a period of suffering, be it a small or a big affliction. I couldn't agree more. When you say "This too shall pass", it reminds you to persevere, to push through, and to "do your suffering" well.

However, I'd like to point out that the quote is also a good warning in times of prosperity. We are reminded that in Heaven's eyes, material prosperity is as fleeting as earthly suffering. It's not to say that we are not allowed to be happy or to feel happiness (or other positive feelings), but even with pleasant things we have to be in moderation, so that we don't grow attached to them or too proud of them, because someday they will be no more. This is a virtue that I'm currently in the process of cultivating and praying for. I fail many times still, many many times. But every day I pray these words of St. Thomas Aquinas's, hoping that one day, by His grace, I will be made worthy of it.

Grant to me, O Lord my God, that I may not falter
in times of prosperity or adversity,
so that I may not be exalted in the former,
nor dejected in the latter.

Da mihi, Domine Deus meus,
inter prospera et adversa non deficere,
ut in illis non extollar et in istis non deprimar.

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