Lessons from Suffering
I do not know why suffering is so much a part of our human existence, especially when it strikes good and innocent people. I certainly do not think God inflicts suffering on me or anyone else. I do know however, that suffering has sometimes been a great grace in my life. While I would never wish it on anybody, the times of greatest suffering in my life have also been when I experienced God’s love most powerfully, through the care other people have had for me.
During such times I have also come closer to God because, in my vulnerability, all I can do is hope and trust in God, handing over to him my very suffering. Lastly, such times of suffering have made me a more compassionate and caring person. God’s ways are not ours and indeed, we are able to find him in all things.
—David McNulty works for the Midwest Jesuits.
St. Augustine said that God "would not allow any evil in his works, unless in his ominpotence and goodness, as the Supreme Good, he is able to bring forth good out of evil" (On Faith, Hope, and Love," iii, 11). Suffering is the anvil on which we can be forged into more-compassionate people. Suffering can make us more humane and more sympathetic to others. In the process we discover our own capacity for love. A silver lining in a dark cloud, if ever there was one. -- Fr. Edward McIlmail, LC
From "The Autobiography of St. Gemma Galgani"
":...but my greatest affliction was not being able to love Jesus as I wished. I tried eagerly not to offend Him, but my bad inclination to evil was so strong that without a special grace from God I would have fallen into hell. Not knowing how to love Jesus caused me much concern, but He, in His infinite goodness, was never ashamed to humiliate me in order that He might become my Master.
One evening when I was at prayer, He came to bring peace to my soul. I felt myself entirely recollected and I found myself for a second time before Jesus Crucified. He said to me "Look Daughter, and learn how to love" and He showed me His five open wounds. "Do you see this cross, these thorns, these nails, these bruises, these tears, these wounds, this blood? They are all works of love; of infinite love. Do you see how much I have loved you? Do you really want to love Me? Then first learn how to suffer. It is by suffering that one learns how to love".
On seeing this, I experienced a new sorrow, and thinking of the infinite love of Jesus for us, and all the sufferings that He had undergone for our salvation, I fainted and fell to the floor, and I remained thus for several hours. All that happened to me during these times of prayer brought me such great consolation, that although they (ecstasies -editor) were prolonged for several hours, I was not at all tired. Ecstasies I continued to make a Holy Hour every Thursday, but sometimes it happened that it lasted until around 2:00am, because I was with Jesus, and almost always He would give me a share in the grief that He suffered in the Garden at the sight of my many sins, and those of the entire world. It was such a deep sorrow that it could well be compared to the agony of death. After all this I would experience so sweet a calm and consolation that I had to give vent to it in tears. And these tears made me taste an incomprehensible love, and increased in me the desire to love Jesus, and to suffer for Him."
May today there be peace within.
May you trust God that you are exactly where you are meant to be.
May you not forget the infinite possibilities that are born of faith.
May you use those gifts that you have received, and pass on the love that has been given to you.
May you be content knowing you are a child of God.
Let this presence settle into your bones, and allow your soul the freedom to sing, dance, praise, and love.
It is there for each and every one of us.
—St. Thérèse of Lisieux
Do not look forward in fear to the changes in life;
rather, look to them with full hope that as they arise,
God, whose very own you are,
will lead you safely through all things;
and when you cannot stand it,
God will carry you in His arms.
Do not fear what may happen tomorrow;
the same understanding Father who cares for
you today will take care of you then and every day.
He will either shield you from suffering
or will give you unfailing strength to bear it.
Be at peace,
and put aside all anxious thoughts and imaginations.
—prayer of St. Francis de Sales