Thoughts on the Patient Endurance of Sorrows and Sufferings
THORNS AND ROSES
Many grown-up persons, when they are in affliction, act like the child about whom I read the following anecdote. He wanted to pluck a beautiful flower he saw on a rose-tree, but he set about it so awkwardly that he tore his hand with the thorns. Then he burst into tears and loudly abused the rose-tree. His mother deftly took hold of the thorny stem in such a way that her fingers were not pricked, cut off three of the finest roses and held them out to the boy, saying as she did so: "Are you still angry with the rose-tree?"
"No, mother, not now," he replied with a joyous smile.
Thus do we, poor, short-sighted mortals, allow ourselves to grow angry with the thorns, that is to say, with the sorrows of life which pierce our hands when we wish to gather the roses of joy. We fail to understand how we ought to deal with these thorns; I mean, how we ought to bear sufferings and contradictions with patience, with resignation to the will of God, with a steadfast hope of heaven.
Therefore in all sufferings, be they great or small, remember how blessed are the fruits of patience. Never murmur nor complain, do not give way to discontent nor anger, do not say: It is not right that this should have happened to me, etc.
Of chance or fate to speak is vain; God's wisdom doth man's lot ordain.
Visit the churchyard where so many crosses and gravestones remind you of the life to come; pause beside the tomb of a Christian maiden who led an innocent and pious life but who was misunderstood and despised by those around her, and who had much to suffer while on earth. If you could ask her whether she were willing to return to this world in order to begin a new but happier existence, what would she reply? "No," she would answer, "not for anything the world could give! For what could be a better lot for me than that which gained for me eternal bliss in heaven!"
If you, too, have much to suffer, rejoice, endure all things with patience, in the sure conviction that patience bears blessed fruits, the fruits of endless joy.
One "Blessed be God" in the time of adversity is worth more than "I thank you" said a thousand times in prosperity.
-St. John of Avila.
There is no sign more certain that one is of the number of the elect than, while leading a Christian life, to be the subject of sufferings, desolations, and trials.
-St. Louis Gonzaga.
As God knows what is good and useful for us, He gives to each of us what will tend most to His glory, to our own salvation, and the good of our neighbor. We deceive ourselves, then, and consult our own interest but little, if wo do not abandon ourselves entirely to His good pleasure.
Be assured that we shall obtain more grace and merit in one day by suffering patiently the afflictions which come to us from God or from our neighbor, than we could acquire in ten years by mortifications and other exercises which are of our choice.
-St. Francis of Sales.
We must try to make ourselves ready to accept whatever God sends, whether painful or pleasant. We must take willingly and cheerfully sickness, pain, unkindness, neglect, failure, poverty; and though nature may cry out against it, yet we must keep our will united to God's so as to be always able to say: "Not my will be done, O my God, but Thine."
Compiled and Edited by Rev. F. X. Lasance
Author of "My Prayerbook," etc.
1937, Benziger Brothers
Printers to the Holy Apostolic See