All of us suffer and in different ways according to our individual situations.
That is the human condition.
It is reasonable to try to alleviate suffering as much as possible, exhausting avenues of recourse to help us deal with it. I bring this up now because I have heard a lot about people suffering in my community, about the people who participate in FOTM, its readers and writers, notwithstanding what we hear and read about in the media realms.
One of the effects I have experienced is that suffering helps us to become “Little”, and I say this with a capital “L” to emphasize that I have found it has brought me closer to Our Lord in that I come to Him as a little child most dependent upon Him.
One needs only to look at a Crucifix and embrace Jesus completely because of the greatest act of love ever given — His horrible suffering and death upon the Cross to save us from our sins and to open the gates of heaven for everyone. We need not be morbid or “put out” for each of our individual experiences with suffering, because then our suffering is offered to Jesus with a poor attitude. I have also found that a sense of humor really helps, because sometimes, when it rains, it pours, and we cannot figure out what is happening. The otherwise little things and chores we try to do become trying and monumental….
But really, we simply must say, “Jesus, I Trust In You,” in every juncture of our lives. Remember what Jesus said, ”Take up your cross and follow Me.”
It is no secret that I love the angels and the saints, members of the Church Triumphant. Below are some of their thoughts about suffering:
My Good Shepherd, who have shown Your very gentle mercy to us unworthy sinners in various physical pains and sufferings, give grace and strength to me, Your little lamb, that in no tribulation or anguish or pain may I turn away from you. St. Francis of Assisi
There’ll be a lot of surprises at the Last Judgment when we shall be able to see what really happened inside people’s souls; and I think the way of suffering by which God led me will be a revelation to the people who knew me. St. Therese de Lisieux, The Little Flower
To suffer much, yet badly, is to suffer like reprobates. To suffer much, even bravely, but for a wicked cause, is to suffer as a martyr of the devil. To suffer much or little for the sake of God is to suffer like saints. St. Louis-Marie de Montfort
Christ tells us that if we want to join Him, we shall travel the way He took. It is surely not right that the Son of God should go His way on the path of shame while the sons of men walk the way of worldly honor. St. John of Avila
Reason should dominate pain, for our Redeemer has sanctified pain and by so doing has given us Christians a right way of facing it. For us, pain does not come to hurt and destroy but to raise to the heights. Bl. Placid Riccardi
I shall remind myself of the labors He undertook in preaching, of his weariness while traveling, of the temptations He suffered while fasting, of His vigils while praying, and of the tears He shed out of compassion. I will remember, moreover, His sorrows, and the insults, spittle, blows, ridicule, rebukes, nails, and all the rest that rained down upon Him in abundance. St. Bernard of Clairvaux
Say always, “My beloved and despised Redeemer, how sweet it is to suffer for you.” St. Alphonsus Liguori
I could not reveal or declare the sweetness I felt or the tears of exceeding great joy that I shed when I was troubled or reviled by my brethren, my friends, or my kindred. Bl. Angela of Foligno
I have had crosses in plenty-more than I could carry, almost. I set myself to ask for the love of crosses-then I was happy. St. John Vianney
The temple of the spirit is raised through work and suffering; and I would add that suffering counts for more than work. St. Anthony Mary Claret
If God is well pleased so long as we do not deny His ordinances, what supreme pleasure we must afford Him when we accept His will with cheerfulness in sufferings that touch our own person…Afflictions and the cauterization of the flesh burn away the rust of sin and perfect the life of the just. St. Anselm of Canterbury
The soul in the darkness groans under its chains, motionless, helpless, until the spirit is softened, humbled, purified, made so subtle, so simple, that it can, in some way, become one with the spirit of God, in accordance with the extent and degree of the union of love to which mercy wishes to raise it. St. John of the Cross
May it please the Mother of God to hear my prayer for you, which is that you may meet with even greater affronts, so that you may have the occasion of greater merit, provided that you can accept them with patience and consistency and without sin on the part of others, remembering the greater insults which Christ Our Lord suffered for us. St. Ignatius of Loyola
An unpitied pain wins greater merit beofre God. Never say to God: “Enough”; simply say, “I am ready!” Bl. Sebastian Valfre
I thought you might appreciate some of the thoughts from your family in heaven which might assist you in your individual suffering. Please make your suffering redemptive, and offer it to Jesus-join your suffering to Him. And don’t compare your suffering to others because each person has a Cross to bear that if joined to Jesus in sincerity, with a contrite heart, will become sanctity and joy.
When I was six years old, a beautiful artist, my first grade teacher, Sister Editha, stopped her teaching when we all heard an ambulance race by our Catholic school. She then told us to always, always pray for that person in the ambulance who is suffering, asking Jesus to help that person. We must be concerned about others’ suffering, as opposed to our own, to become a servant, not to be served. That is where the joy comes in, becoming Little, to ourselves and most of all, to God, His little child.
Always remember: “Jesus, I Trust In You”. May God bless you, may the Blessed Mother, the angels and the saints assist you in your life!
Source: The Wisdom of the Saints-An Anthology, Jill Haak Adels