God does not frown on your complaint.
Did not His Mother in the Temple ask:
“Son! Why hast thou done so to us?”
And did not Christ on the Cross complain:
“My God! Why hast Thou abandoned Me?”
If the Son asked the Father
And the Mother the Son—“Why?”
Why should not you?
But let your wails be to God,
And not to man,
Asking not, “Why does God do this to me?”
But: “Why, O God, dost Thou treat me so?”
Talk not about God, as Satan did to Eve:
“Why did God command you?”
But talk to God as Christ to His Father.
And at the end of your sweet complaining prayer
You will say: “Father, into Thy Hands
I commend my spirit.”
You will not so much be taken down
As the thief on the left,
But be taken up as the thief
Who heard: “This day, Paradise.”
They who complain to others never see
They who complain to God find that
Their Passion, like Christ’s, turns into compassion.
Only He who made your wound can heal it.
The Love that tightened your bow strings
Did so not in hurt, but in love of music.
Do not all lovers ask in doubt: “Do you love me?”
Ask that of the Tremendous Lover
And each scar will seem a kiss!
God is not “way up there.”
He is taking another body—your own—
To carry on the world’s redemption.
Too few offer Him a human nature
Like Mary at the angel’s call,
So He conscripts you, drafts you,
Inducts you into His Army.
Complain that your shoulders
Ache beneath your pack,
But see His own smarting
Under a cross beam.
Complaint to God is dialogue,
And dialogue is prayer.
Not the ready-made, packaged, memorized
Lip-service of the book and candle,
But the encounter and the union
That only lovers know!
Archbishop Fulton J. Sheen (1895—1979) was one of the best-known and best-loved Catholic prelates of all time. He was a distinguished philosopher, orator, preacher, teacher, missionary, radio and television personality, and author. His oral and written legacy is substantial and enduring.
“Complain!” is included in Christ-Centered Wisdom for the Third Millennium: In the Fullness of Time, copyright 1999 Liguori Publications (805097). Other Fulton Sheen books from Liguori Publications include Peace of Soul; Lift Up Your Heart; Jesus, Son of Mary; Characters of the Passion; From the Angel’s Blackboard; and Simple Truths. To order, visit Liguori.org or call 800-325-9521.