Tuesday, March 13, 2012

Suffering and Love

From Colleen Hammond:
First, suffering detaches from this world and obliges the heart to rise to heaven, by means of the discomfort which it makes it experience here below, and which proves to it that it is made for something better than the perishable enjoyments of this world, namely, for eternal bliss. Without suffering, our heart would be lost in the love of present things; suffering alone can break the deceptive charms which incline us towards the earth and make us recognize that God alone is the bed of our repose, that outside Him all is vanity and vexation of spirit. Second, suffering purifies virtue, disengages it from all alloy, and makes it enter into that blessed state where God alone is everything to the heart. This is why the more God loves a soul, the less He allows it to remain sleeping for a long time at its ease; He troubles it in its vain enjoyments, and does not permit its heart to be soiled by the current of the waters of Babylon, that is to say, by worldly pleasures, Second, suffering strengthens virtue and gives it the character of solidity which atone renders it worthy of God. As long as a soldier has not exposed himself to fire in the battle, his courage is open to suspicion. It is in the same way impossible to count upon an effeminate soul which has not been tried in the crucible of suffering. A contradiction, a loss, a want of the respect due to it, is sufficient to make it murmur and complain. It is a deceptive piety which is only a mockery of true piety, false gold which shines in the sun, but which cannot resist the fire and vanishes in the crucible. The soul which is tried by tribulation, on the contrary, is fashioned to suffering and contradiction, and is accustomed to sacrifice, remains calm amidst the trials of life, kisses the hand of God which strikes it, directs a glance of submission towards heaven, and rejoices even in its trials, in which it sees the guarantee of future happiness. Whatever our fantastic nature of human judgment may cause it to suffer, the inequalities of temper which oppose it, the deceptions of self-love, the disgust to or the fatigue consequent upon labor, it is firm and unshaken, and the more its heart is wounded and made to bleed through contradiction, the happier it is to be able to offer itself to God as a victim marked with the sign of the cross of His well-beloved Son. Are these our dispositions? (Read entire post.)

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