Suffering, Salvation, and the Saints

2019-02-10T16:18:47+00:00February 10th, 2019|Blog|

If you seek patience, you will find no better example than the cross. – St. Thomas Aquinas

Apart from the cross there is no other ladder by which we may get to heaven. – St. Rose of Lima

Suffering passes; to have suffered willingly remains eternally. – St. Therese of Lisieux

There is no evil to be faced that Christ does not face with us. There is no enemy that Christ has not already conquered. There is no cross to bear that Christ has not already borne for us, and does not now bear with us. – St. John Paul II

We are at Jesus’ disposal. If he wants you to be sick in bed, if he wants you to proclaim His work in the street…We must say, “I belong to you. You can do whatever you like.” And this is our strength, and this is the joy of the Lord. – St. Teresa of Calcutta

We all make complicated and lengthy plans for our lives. We map out every day, every week, and every year. While a certain amount of organization, preparation, and forethought are necessary to maintain a happy, healthy, and successful career, household, and family – our reliance upon mobile app calendars gives us the false impression that we are in control. We arrange our daily meals, our appointments, and even when we relax. Life often revolves around our work schedule. When we get sick with a cold or flu, we allocate a certain amount of time (one or two days) to stay home from our jobs or from school. We assume that we even are the sole arbiters of our health. Sometimes, when we fail to recover as quickly as we would like – we have to modify our to-do list. For those who discover that they are suffering from something more serious than just a sore throat or stuffy nose, our plans generally begin to crumble or entirely collapse. At that point, day-to-day schedules are taken over by doctors’ appointments and various tests. Slowly, it becomes your new occupation. As a result, it feels as if the world begins to move on without you. Sometimes, it even seems as if God has left us. Oftentimes, a persistent or chronic illness can cause depression and despair. But Padre Pio observed: “Jesus is with you even when you don’t feel His presence.” Others find an unexpected blessing in the midst of their suffering. St. Faustina Kowalska, who endured ill-health throughout much of her short life, once wrote: “I thank God for this illness and these physical discomforts, because I have the time to converse with the Lord Jesus.” After spending much of her time in the convent’s infirmary (see picture above), a rather impertinent nun asked the ailing St. Bernadette: “…what’s your job?” She answered: “Being ill.” St. Bernadette described her sickbed as a “white chapel.” As Mother Teresa explained, we are at Jesus’ disposal – we can proclaim his work from our hospital bed or from the street. One may seem less important than the other, but it is no less significant. Our true importance is not in the loftiness or visibility of our labors, but in our willingness to do God’s will – with love. St John Vianney said: “The saints suffered everything with joy, patience, and perseverance, because they loved.”

3 Comments

  1. Catherine S February 10, 2019 at 6:03 pm - Reply

    Well said, Joseph – An important part of any religious order is what they call their “Rule”, whereby they map out their days in order to make sure that all those things of priority get done – #1 being prayer, and spending time with Our Lord. More than a mere schedule, though, it’s about ordering our lives to Him, and going about our daily lives in service to Him. When we do even the most mundane chores, we can do them for His glory – and that changes the entire make-up of the chore. No longer a drudgery – something we just have to do because it needs done – it becomes an opportunity to serve others, or engage with Him, or spread the Gospel. For example, when I have to make dinner for my family, it’s no longer a chore, but something I am doing as part of my vocation as wife and mother – for love of my family and God, in gratitude for His many blessings, and being able to do the chore becomes a moment of grace! The same can be done by anyone, of any vocation. Just as you pointed out, our true vocation is “in our willingness to do God’s will – with love.”

  2. Silvana February 11, 2019 at 11:17 am - Reply

    One of the most beautiful post I read about suffering in unity with God. May Our Lady of Lourdes protect you in your own struggles and health worries.

  3. Kabir February 12, 2019 at 6:42 pm - Reply

    Beautiful. Perhaps one should read this everyday to maintain perspective about what’s important and what isn’t.

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