Can You Suffer for Him?

Happy are deceptions if they require us not to give up the struggle without going farther on in our efforts, to be discontented with prejudices and hasty suspicions, and to understand better the grandeur of the message that is transmitted to us.

To believe in the Church is to adhere to the mystery of Christ, which is found therein:

Christ comes to look for man in the midst of sin, and slowly draws him away from it. This is the mystery of the fundamental plan of God, which is to give himself to the world by taking on a human flesh. God went to the limits of this plan. One can adhere to the Church, the mystery of faith, only living it here on this earth.

How could such a life not bring suffering? The only sign of authentic achievement is the cross. The truth of all our responses can be summarized as follows: "Does a person truly love someone when he cannot suffer for him?"

- Taken from Fr. Bernard Bro, O.P., Happy Those Who Believe, John Morriss, Tr. (Staten Island, NY: The Society of St. Paul, St. Pauls/Alba House, 1970).


All Depends Upon God

I cannot resist saying that the longer I live the more clearly I both perceive and understand that all depends upon God, and that we have but to make surrender of everything to him to be successful in everything. I have no sooner made the sacrifice to him than I find everything fall out as I would wish.

You do well to reflect that there are many others who bear a heavier cross than yourself. But remember that consciousness of its heaviness does not hinder us from being submissive to God. We can easily be deprived of a submission that is at once sensible and comforting, but we shall never be without that of pure faith and pure spirit. The latter is the more meritorious in that no vain complacency can spoil it. This is why to many, who allow their souls to cry out in humiliation beneath the weight of their afflictions, God grants only the second kind of submission.

God tempers the wind to the shorn lamb; we are always given special graces with which to endure extraordinary misfortunes. Patience makes the unpreventable tolerable, to quote a pagan philosopher who had only human reason to enlighten him. Faith and religion, the sight of the cross and the prospect of eternal happiness, should surely make us think and say as much.

- Taken from Fr. Jean-Pierre de Caussade, S.J., Self-Abandonment to Divine Providence, Algar Thorold, Tr., Fr. John Joyce, S.J., Ed. (Sprinfield, IL: Templegate Publishers, 1959).


Love Jesus in the Passion

May your way of life be totally heavenly, we are bound to this as Christians.... Let us love Jesus in the Passion more than anything else. Let us often meditate on the suffering of the God-man and then it will not be long before the great desire to suffer more for love of Jesus is awakened in us. Love for the cross has always been the distinctive sign of chosen souls. Being burdened with the cross has always been a sign of predilection on the part of the heavenly Father for those souls....

Let us show ourselves to be worthy children of such a great Father. Jesus also invites us to climb to Calvary with him, so let us not refuse. Ascending the painful mount with Jesus will be a joy for us.

In the course of life, mortifications will not be lacking for us, either. Let us love them; let us embrace them with a cheerful soul, and let us always bless the good God in everything.

- Taken from St. Pio of Pietrelcina, Letters: Correspondence with His Spiritual Daughters (1915-1923), Vol. III, Fr. Gerardo Di Flumeri, O.F.M. Cap., Ed. (San Giovanni Rotondo, Italy: Our Lady of Grace Capuchin Friary, 1994).


The Always-Love

Jesus did the will of the Father when it was not at all pleasing to his human nature. It was not pleasing, even long before the Passion, to be treated with ingratitude, to be disappointed again and again, to receive such small returns for his love. But he did the will of the Father always and not just when it was agreeable to his humanity.

Out of that constancy comes directly that persevering love absolutely characteristic of Jesus. Saint John says of him that, "having loved his own who were in the world, he loved them to the end" (Jn 13:1). Again, we see in ourselves, flowing right out of the previous consideration, a sometimes-love, a self-centeredness. Christ was always Father-centered and other-centered. It is when we are focused on ourselves that we have sometimes-love. When we look back on our own lives, we realize that we have sometimes experienced that feeling of "What's the use?" in situations, particularly at times with persons. And yet there is that unquenchable love that God has put in our hearts, which comes up like a tide and against all evidence to the contrary. It urges us to say, "No, I will try again." This is what we want to nurture in ourselves. This is of Christ. It is the always-love.

This persevering, constant love, like mobility and the faith response, comes out of suffering and pain. The love that is not persevering, the sometimes-love that separates us from Christ, is a matter of emotions, situations, persons, circumstances, surprises. But the persevering love of Jesus is the unquenchable love.

- Taken from Mother Mary Francis, P.C.C., Anima Christi: Soul of Christ (San Francisco, CA.: Ignatius Press, 2001).


When Our Hearts Cry Out

God wants us to grow in prayer. Suffering and tribulation are a school for that. When we are sick, we often don't feel that the quality of our prayer is improving. In fact, it can seem quite the opposite. When I am in pain, or in depression, or in obsessive fear, my mind feels as if it's tied in knots. I can't lift it to anything, much less God....

Prayer is conversation with God, and it is God who initiates the conversation. That does not mean that we should wait until God starts speaking inside our heads. He is always speaking, calling to us, drawing us to prayer. He speaks to our hearts. We begin to hear him when we become more aware of our need for him. This is where prayer begins: when our hearts cry out, "Lord, have mercy on me!"

We always need mercy, but the awareness of that need arises and intensifies when we are suffering. One of the things that has helped me see the mercy of God at work in my own suffering is the fact that it has forced me to shut up and listen. The ear of the heart that hears God has a very simple shape.

The cry of that heart is also simple: "Help. Have mercy on me. I need you." We may not be able to articulate these words, but that inward groaning that seeks him is the foundational response to the love he continually offers us.

We are dear to God in our weakness. He is close to us when we are suffering. He lifts us closer to him if we allow him to enter inside of that need that groans within us. He shapes us, in his way and in his time.

- Taken from John Janaro, Never Give Up: My Life and God's Mercy (Cincinnati, OH: Servant Books, an imprint of St. Anthony Messenger Press, 2010).

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