One of the more meaningful and
fulfilling parts of Catholic doctrine
that is not well developed in other
Christian denominations is the
incredible value of suffering. Sadly,
many Christians believe that Jesus
suffered and died for us so that we
would not have to suffer at all. While
Jesus did suffer and die to save us and
that the redeemed will one day have
every tear wiped from their eyes, our
path of salvation to that final, eternal
reward in this life is to follow in His
footsteps. Christ promised us that, if we
are truly His disciples, we will suffer
just as He did.
Suffering for a Catholic is never
meaningless; it is always meant for the
sanctification of our souls and to prepare
us for Heaven, no matter what form
it takes: sickness, loss of a loved one,
relationship trouble, financial trouble,
emotional turmoil, family strife,
religious persecution, natural disasters,
government oppression and so on.
St. Jean Vianney preached often on
suffering and his words are a guide and
comfort to us all. Whether we will it
or not, we must suffer. There are some
who suffer like the Good Thief, others
like the bad thief. They both suffer
equally. Only one knew how to make his
sufferings meritorious and accept them
in the spirit of reparation. Jesus said to
him, “This day, thou shalt be with Me in
Paradise.” The other, on the contrary,
cried out, uttered blasphemies, and
expired in the most frightful despair.
There are two ways of suffering:
To suffer WITH LOVE
and to suffer WITHOUT LOVE!
The Saints suffered everything with
joy and patience, because they loved.
We suffer with anger, vexation and
weariness, because we do not love. If
we loved God, we should love crosses
and be happy to be able to suffer for
the love of Him who lovingly suffered
for us. Of what do you complain? The
Cross is consoling! It is sweet! It is
happiness! But, we must love while
we suffer, and suffer while we love.
On the Way of the Cross, you see, my
children, only the first step is painful.
Our greatest cross is the fear of crosses.
Whatever we do, the cross holds us
tight; we cannot escape from it. Most
men turn their backs upon crosses. The
more they run, the more the cross
pursues them, the more it strikes and
crushes them. He who goes out to meet
the cross and embraces it courageously
is purified and detached from this world.
Worldly people are miserable when
they have crosses, and good Christians
are miserable when they have none.
The Christian lives in the midst of
crosses, as the fish lives in the sea.