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  • Sarah Raad

Opposites

“Imagine what the pain of a soul to whom God has revealed some of His heavenly treasures must be when it finds itself still a pilgrim in exile on earth.” (Saint Padre Pio).

Christ Carrying the Cross (Eustache Le Sueur)

George Bernard Shaw was a great Irish playwright, critic and political activist who died in 1950.


I read a phrase by this writer the other day and in it he said, “Both optimists and pessimists contribute to society. The optimist invents the aeroplane, the pessimist the parachute.”


And I have been thinking about this description of such opposites as these ever since I first read those words.


You see, it is the gift of faith – and faith alone, in my opinion – that causes us to become eternal optimists!


So many of the Saints have commented that Heaven is filled with joyful souls – and what could possibly be more joyful than an optimist?


Saint Augustine tells us that the restlessness of our hearts can only be settled and made at peace when our hearts rest in God, because God Himself is the object – the purpose so to speak – of our love…


Saint Padre Pio explained it further, when he said, “Now, you know very well that perfect love is obtained only when we possess the object of our love. However, God, the object of the love Augustine is talking about, will be fully possessed only when we see Him face-to-face instead of through a veil. As Saint Paul says, then we will see Him as He is, and we will know Him as we know ourselves. This will happen only when the doors of our prison are opened. Based on this, imagine what the pain of a soul to whom God has revealed some of His heavenly treasures must be when it finds itself still a pilgrim in exile on earth.”


And I have been reflecting on this pain of souls who long for the Lord…

All the Saints – through their more perfect connection to God, which occurred through their more perfect surrender to His Holy Will – felt the pain of that separation through the veil.

Saint Maria Faustina Kowalska wrote often in her diary – particularly towards the very end of her very short life – that she felt terrible anguish at being denied her death and being denied entry into eternal life according to God’s will.


In her Diary Entry 1810, Saint Faustina quoted the words of Christ, who said, “See, I have left my heavenly throne to become united to you. What you see is just a tiny part and already your soul swoons with love. How amazed will your heart be when you see Me in My glory. But I tell you that eternal life must begin already here on earth through Holy Communion. Each Holy Communion makes you more capable of communing with God throughout eternity.”


In her conversations with Christ – during her last few weeks on earth – Christ assured Saint Faustina that though she might lament the length of her earthly suffering as she longed for the peace of death, she would wish that her earthly pain and suffering were longer once she had attained salvation…


And I have been reflecting on that too… For it is something truly extraordinary!


You see, so often my prayers are asking God to reduce my suffering, minimise my pain and end my torment. But when you really think about it – I should be praying for the opposite…


Really, I should be asking God to allow me to suffer as a sacrifice for Him. For as He promised Saint Faustina, I will lament the brevity of my earthly suffering when I am eternally saved…


And yet, to pray for such a thing as this requires great faith, and so it is that I pray for the faith to pray in this way…


For Pope Benedict XVI said, “Do not be afraid of Christ. He takes nothing away, and He gives you everything. When we give ourselves to Him, we receive a hundredfold in return. Yes, open, open wide the doors to Christ – and you will find true life.”


And it is that “true life” that I wish to find…


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

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