“Pain and suffering have come into your life, but remember pain, sorrow, and suffering are but the kiss of Jesus – a sign that you have come so close to Him that He can kiss you.” St. Teresa of Calcutta
I recently visited the Carmelite Cloister near my home. I try to get out and visit at various times during the year when their schedule permits it. I was recounting a difficult experience after visiting a friend who endured some very invasive surgery. I was saddened about the whole experience, but I was quite astounded at the good spirits this kind friend enjoyed. It made my visit so much better and uplifting. The kind sisters reminded me of the great saints who endured so much. Pope Francis reminds us that many Christians are suffering in the world today as much as they did in the early Church. It is important to remember this.
“If you really want to love Jesus, first learn to suffer, because suffering teachers you to love.” St. Gemma Galgani
Nuntius Sulprizio was a 19th century Blessed. The sisters reminded me about his memorial on May 5th. I was curious about this unknown saint. His father died when he was three, His sister died shortly after. His new step-father treated the boy quite badly. He found the boy a burden despite Nuntius being a pious child. The child was abused and mistreated by his uncle who hired him as a blacksmith apprentice. The boy collapsed and needed to be hospitalized from various medical issues. Through his paternal uncle, he met Colonel Felice Wochinger in 1832 who became a father figure for him. He also met the future St. Gaetano Errico who offered him entrance into the Missionaries of the Sacred Heart of Jesus and Mary when he would be ready. Alas, Nuntius’ medical problems ended his life in 1836. He was known as a gentle and pious soul in a time when these qualities were rare. The Lord really does raise up saints at a time when they are needed.
“Souls who aspire to sublime union with God by contemplation usually suffer interior purgation in one way or another.” St. Paul of the Cross.
In a society that sees suffering as unnecessary and futile and, in a society, where gratification is instantaneous via online shopping, we need to take a step back. We do not want to suffer. No one does. But our Lord sees our lives and He is our Father. He knows what we need before we ask Him, and he wants to teach us many things. Our hearts are closed so often. We must continue to strive to stay close to Christ despite our struggles. We cannot dwell on what we do not have, but we must dwell on what our Lord wants for us. It is a difficult challenge.
“…. stay in the boat in which our Lord has placed you, and let the storm come. You will not perish. It appears to you that Jesus is sleeping, but let it be so. Don’t you know that if he sleeps, His heart vigilantly watchers over you?" St. Padre Pio