I consider that the sufferings of this present time are not worth comparing with the glory that is to be revealed to us.” (Romans 8:16-18).
I have been reflecting on suffering as I consider the suffering of the souls who surround me.
From my own very limited experience with grief and suffering, I have come to believe that a soul can bear any torment – even the most unimaginable – provided that they can understand its purpose and that they do not feel alone… In fact, I am firmly convinced that the experience of suffering pointlessly and alone is the actual experience of Hell, for pointless suffering that does not sanctify and separation from God, engenders the most unimaginable horror of aloneness possible…
But – through the miracle of Grace, since the moment of my conversion – I have come to understand that even the greatest and most unimaginable suffering can be endured with serenity – when the suffering soul can understand the purpose of that suffering and can unite their suffering to God.
And to understand the purpose of suffering, one must consider suffering through a perspective of faith…
You see, when we consider suffering from a faithful perspective, we do not consider our world filled with souls who do not deserve to suffer. Rather, we see the fallen nature of our world and recognise the necessity of sanctification for sinful souls. And in appreciating the need to sanctify ourselves, we are also cognisant of our sinfulness… And it is to this sinfulness that my mind turns when I encounter, albeit only small suffering, within my life.
You see, nobody ever got from Earth to Heaven floating through life on a cloud... Every single soul on this earth achieved the glories of Heaven ONLY through suffering – and that includes the souls that were undeserving of this suffering. No soul ever born suffered more than Our Blessed Mother and Our Blessed Lord, who were both conceived without Original Sin! And even Saint John the Baptist, suffered in his life. And though he was conceived with Original Sin, he was born without it – having been baptised by Christ within the womb during the Visitation, which we commemorate in the Second Joyful Mystery of the Most Blessed Rosary – “When Elizabeth heard Mary’s greeting, the baby leaped in her womb, and Elizabeth was filled with the Holy Spirit.” (Luke 1:41)!
You see, when you consider the eternal perspective of suffering, there is never a reason to experience purposeless suffering in isolation – and from that perspective, it is easy to understand that suffering is a wonderful blessing!
For, “We are children of God, and if children, then heirs, heirs of God and fellow heirs with Christ, provided we suffer with Him in order that we may also be glorified with Him. I consider that the sufferings of this present time are not worth comparing with the glory that is to be revealed to us.” (Romans 8:16-18).
Saint Padre Pio embraced his duty as heir of Christ when he explained his suffering… “Every small thing I do wrong is a painful sword that pierces my heart. At certain times I am led to exclaim with the apostle, but not with his perfection, ‘It is no longer I who live, but Christ who lives in me’ (Galatians 2:20), because I do sense someone living in me. The other result of this grace is that life has become a cruel martyrdom for me, and I am comforted only by resigning myself to continue living on earth because of my love for Jesus. However, my father, even with that comfort, the pain I feel at certain times is unbearable…”
For the Saints understood that it is only as heirs of the Almighty God, that we can achieve Heaven, and knowing that is its purpose – sanctification so that we can achieve unity with God – any suffering, even unbearable pain, can be borne…
And so, on my darkest days, when my very small cross causes me the greatest of anguish, I remember whose daughter I am, and I straighten my crown… For I am the daughter of the King of the Universe, God of Endless Glory, and for Him and through Him and with Him, I can endure all things…
For with prayer, I stand on Holy Ground where everything is clear. Here. At the Foot of the Cross.