Suffering – But Oh! What Joy!


At Jerónimos Monastery in Lisbon, Portugal

Just as our dear Jesus willed his life here on earth to be ever spent in the midst of hardships, labours, privations, anguish, scorn, calumnies, thorns, and the cruel death of the Cross, so he made me realize that in embracing him, I must live in the midst of suffering. And oh, what joy did my poor soul embrace in every kind of hardship!
Saint Paul of the Cross


Self-Egression, to Freedom, to God

The more disengaged and abstracted the self-egression of such souls [pursuing God] is, the more free will be their soaring exaltation; and the more free their exaltation, the deeper will be their penetration into the vast wilderness and unfathomable abyss of the unknown Godhead, wherein they are immersed, overflowed, and blended up [while retaining their individuality], so that they desire to have no other will than God’s will, and that they become the very same that God is: in other words, that they be made blessed by grace as He is by nature.
Blessed Henry Suso (1300–1366)

Epistolary Advice to the Ill, Indisposed, and Suffering

In a letter, Saint Paul of the Cross tells a friend who was ill at home:

Do all you can to be resigned to the Will of God in all the sufferings that God permits, in your tiredness and in all the work you have to do. Keep your heart at peace and be recollected; don’t get upset. If you can go to church, go; if you can’t, stay quietly and contentedly at home; just do the Will of God in the work you have at hand.

This is the kind of advice that, to me, makes so much sense. Peace has value, duties have value, doing the task at hand has immense value. This is the practicality of the saints. It’s not our job to get bogged down with responsibilities that we cannot fulfill (for in such assumption of responsibility there is surely pride), and it is not our job to become frantic about things that cannot be done (for in such a reaction there is surely a lack of theological hope).

We must simply accept the potholes as they come along the road. If we must stop for them, then we must stop. Even if that deprives us of the delights of going to a church or participating in a Mass, so be it. It is God’s Will and our being in God’s Will that counts.

After all, if God prefers us to be on the Cross with him, rather than staring at and adoring him on the Cross, then who are we to argue?

Little Cactus


Little cactus sitting still
Waiting for a watering
Never have you known He will
Rain on you again

But it really is not rain
For the Master chooses it
Chooses when to turn the main
Drench you to the brim

So this dryness is from Him
You accept it and you wait
But it hurts for light is dim
No water at night

Long since flowers grew on you
Long since you could give them Him
Nothing blooms and nothing’s new
But the choice is His