Saint Gerard Majella, whose feast day it is today, is an interesting fellow. He was one of the first generation of Redemptorists, and he always turned heads wherever he went. He was carefree but serious. He was gentle but unflinching. He was a wanderer in an order that was becoming highly organized. And so on.
One of those interesting “contradictions” is his life comes from two different reports of his life, gathered in the first biographies. One report focuses on him being “always suffering” from childhood until adulthood and his death. Another tells us how he was, as he is best known today, “always cheerful” from childhood to adulthood and his death.
Is it impossible?
It would be impossible if pain cancelled out happiness. But in the Gospel, isn’t something special offered to us? Don’t the promises and the demands of the Gospel bring us this strange beatitude that passes above the things of this world and lets us change sadness into joy?
Yes, indeed. And so Gerard teaches us in words; he says:
Courage, suffer for God, because that way your pain will become a second paradise here on earth.
This is just one lesson from the life of Saint Gerard….