“Let me, my Jesus, share in your suffering, at least one of your thorns.” St. Rita of Cascia
How often do we look to avoid suffering? Probably all the time. Recently, on the feast of St. Rita of Cascia I went to mass at the Italian parish in my city. My family was visiting, and I wanted to go to mass there. It was a surprise to see bouquets of roses on the altar. I wondered what they were doing there and after mass, the priest blessed them, and everyone took one home. The church is hardly full on a Monday morning, which was also a holiday here, but there were a good number of people. I read about St. Rita to find out more about this devotion to a not so famous saint. She was drawn to religious life early, but she married at 18. She had two sons. Her husband was murdered and when her sons died, she entered the convent. It took a lot of effort, but it was where God wanted her. When she asked for a rose from her family’s property, it was not the time of the year for flowers. However, there was a rose. We can reduce these stories to babble or legend, but they are not. We cannot reduce even the little things and signs God sends.
“The most beautiful creed is the one we pronounce in our hour of darkness.” St. Padre Pio
God does not like to make us suffer but he might allow it to happen to us. However, he does not send us out alone in the desert and think we can simply fend for ourselves. He would never lead us where he would not accompany us. Help is always there. I can only speak from my experience. Difficulties sometimes seem to overwhelm us. They can be daunting, but they are not the end. Each saint had some struggle in life. They did not have a road paved with flowers. St. Rita became a patron of desperate cases. We have been sent many saints as examples as to how we can stay faithful to Christ in our struggles. Yes, we become angry with God in a sense. I do not think He would shy away from us thinking we are angry. He knows what we need even before we ask Him.
“I have found the paradox that if I love until it hurts, then there is no hurt but only more love.” St. Teresa of Calcutta
This is our task – to love Christ even when we do not understand how to anymore or when we are exasperated. Defeat, sorrow, frustration, and confusion might befall us but these ‘feelings’ are not of God. They come from our weaknesses. God’s love for us is the opposite of these things. We must maintain our faith as the Apostles and early Christians taught us. I think of St. Stephen and how he must have suffered. Choose any saint and their circumstances may be different but their faith is the same.
If God sends you many sufferings, it is a sign that He has great plans for you and certainly wants to make you a saint.” St. Ignatius Loyola