• Sarah Raad


“Do not lose heart.The steeper the road, the faster it rises towards ever wider horizons.” (Saint John Paul II).

Christ crowned with Thorns (Fra Angelico)

The other day I read some beautiful words written by Pope Saint John Paul II…

“Do not lose heart. The steeper the road, the faster it rises towards ever wider horizons.” (Saint John Paul II)…

And I have been reflecting on these beautiful words for some time now. You see, it is bizarre – wildly bizarre – when I really stop and think about the truth being communicated by this Saint through these words.

But, I guess this “bizarreness” the craziness of the paradox of our Faith is really just a gift of that same faith.

I mean, that BIZARRE paradox is what allows us to realise that when things look bad and feel difficult, that is when we should have the greatest hope – because “the steeper the road, the faster it rises…”

And that is amazing really – an amazing, beautiful GIFT of our faith – to understand such a thing…

Venerable Fulton Sheen said, “The greatest tragedy in the world is not what people suffer, but how much they miss when they suffer. Nothing is quite as depressing as wasted pain, agony without an ultimate meaning of purpose.”

And, as someone who lived through years and years of (albeit small) suffering without really understanding what it was for at the time, I can understand the depression about which that Archbishop speaks...

You see, suffering for a purpose HELPS – but suffering without purpose is the most terrible tragedy of the UNIVERSE! After all, suffering without purpose is HELL… You see, the suffering of the poor sinful souls damned to Hell achieves nothing. It helps nothing. It serves nothing. It is WASTED! It is PURPOSE-LESS!

And in understanding this truth, I can better understand the JOY of the Saints, who EMBRACED suffering in their own lives. For those Saints understood that this suffering that we are allowed to experience in this life SERVES A PURPOSE!

And knowing that our suffering serves a purpose, we do not have to be afraid... Saint Therese of the Child Jesus wrote, “While in the world, I used to think of all the pleasant and unpleasant things which might happen throughout the day, and if I foresaw nothing but worries I got up with a heavy heart. Now it is quite the reverse. I think of the pains and of the sufferings awaiting me, and I rise, feeling all the more courageous and light of heart in proportion to the opportunities I foresee of proving my love for Our Lord, and of gaining my children’s livelihood. Then I kiss my crucifix, and laying it gently on my pillow, I leave it there while I dress and I say: ‘My Jesus, Thou hast toiled and wept enough during Thy three-and-thirty years on this miserable earth. Rest Thee, today! It is my turn to suffer and fight.’”

And even if – by the GRACE of GOD – I can approach my misery with the same faith as Saints like Saint Therese and Pope Saint John Paul II, I am not asked to suffer alone… Saint Maximilian Kolbe said, “I see Mary everywhere. I see difficulties nowhere.” For Our Blessed Mother HELPS us – just as our guardian angel does, and just as all the angels and Saints and God Himself do too…

Saint Faustina wrote in her Diary 802 “…I felt sick and had to lie down at once. The sister brought me some medication, but I felt bad all day. In the evening, I tried to make a Holy Hour, but I could not do so; all I could do was unite myself with the suffering Jesus.”

And I think of this example of this Saint as I go about my day today, because even when she could do nothing, she could UNITE HERSELF “with the suffering Jesus”… And I pray for the Grace to imitate such an example of faith. I pray for the Grace…

For with prayer, I stand on Holy Ground where everything is clear. Here. At the Foot of the Cross.

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