We know that being on the cross with Jesus is ultimately the most perfect place from which to contemplate Him.” (Saint Padre Pio).
I have been thinking about faith and the goodness of God.
You see, we cannot have a little faith or a bit of faith or a small amount of faith. We can only have faith or not have faith. It is one thing that really is black or white – with no grey areas…
When people have faith – true faith – they are at peace. And that peace is a deep inner peace that is something so profound that nothing – NOTHING – of this world can shake their belief that God is GOOD and will turn all things to GOOD…
And I guess the problem is that we really do expect that suffering will be a theoretical thing. Even if I pray my prayers and say, "God, please send me some suffering, I will endure anything that You ask of me." Yet, in theory we do not feel the actual weight of the Cross. In theory there are no splinters, there is no sweat and no blood and no pain. In theory, all suffering can be endured. But it is something very different when we are bearing the physical weight of the Cross. It is something very different when we are walking along the Road to Calvary, feeling the sweat, hearing the jeers and seeing the flies…
But when a soul really does have faith, they can know – with CERTAINTY – that God turns all things to the GOOD! And even though it may be impossible to see right now, they know that their suffering will gain them great merit in eternity. Those souls experience peace – even in suffering – because they know that when they suffer, God is holding them in the palm of His Holy Hand. And that is why suffering is so difficult for others to witness, because it is the mark of Holiness and the sign of Sanctity – and such glories of holiness and sanctity are BLINDING to mere human eyes.
You see, to see the beauty in the pain and suffering, we must look with the eyes of our soul. For it is only then that we will see great beauty in that pain and in seeing that, we will give thanks that we are asked to witness God's greatness!
Saint Clare of Assisi advised, “Place your mind before the mirror of eternity! Place your soul in the brilliance of glory! Place your heart in the figure of the Divine Substance! And transform your whole being into the image of the Godhead itself through contemplation! So that you too may feel what His friends feel as they taste the hidden sweetness that God Himself has reserved from the beginning for those who love Him.”
And Saint Clare could say this because she – like other saints, including Saint Augustine – understood that in having faith we can see more than the things in front of our physical eyes.
Saint Augustine said, “What you see is the bread and the chalice; that is what your own eyes report to you. But what your faith obliges you to accept is that the bread is the body of Christ and the chalice is the blood of Christ. This has been said very briefly, which may perhaps be sufficient for faith; yet faith does not desire instruction.”
"Oh, how wonderful and gentle is our divine Master's sweet invitation: ‘If any man would come after me, let him deny himself and take up his cross and follow me’ [Matthew 16:24]. This is the invitation that led Saint Teresa of Avila to pray to the divine Bridegroom to let her suffer or die... It was because of this invitation that our seraphic brother Saint Francis exclaimed in ecstasy that the good he was awaiting was so great that every pain was delight to him. Let us not complain about whatever afflictions or infirmities it might please Jesus to send us. Let us follow the divine Master on the road to Calvary and carry our cross. And if it pleases Him to put us on the cross,... let us thank Him and consider ourselves fortunate that such honour is shown to us. We know that being on the cross with Jesus is ultimately the most perfect place from which to contemplate Him.” (Saint Padre Pio).
And I consider these words of Saint Padre Pio as I contemplate my Beloved, and I think I can understand a little of why I must be willing to contemplate Him from that PERFECT PLACE on the Cross… I think I can finally understand…
For with prayer, I stand on Holy Ground where everything is clear. Here. At the Foot of the Cross.