ARISE, MY LOVE AND COME!
“LEARN FROM ME; I AM MEEK AND HUMBLE OF HEART!”
Humility is the divine teaching of Jesus; it is the mark of His sanctity and the condition necessary for us to obtain His gifts. Humility is the soul’s greatest triumph over Satan. An act of humility strikes the devil to the ground at his first assault. Humility is our rampart and our shield. It was through the humility of Mary that Our Blessed Savior was conceived by the Holy Ghost. A humble soul is patient, long-suffering, mild and kind. This sweetness is a divine touch which produces serenity and peace, and enables us to surmount the insurmountable!
“Patience is necessary to you that doing the Will of God, you may receive His promise.” (Hebrews 10:36) “In your patience, you will possess your soul.” (St. Luke) By patience, then, we will save our souls. Patience is an instrument of salvation, an inestimable treasure. Our every act of patience brings us nearer to Heaven, and is a test of our fitness for eternal life.
WHAT IS PATIENCE?
Patience is the willing endurance of what is painful to us for the love of God. Patience lightens every suffering which cannot be avoided. Patience teaches us to endure our infirmities, poverty, insults, contempt, neglect and desolation. Patience helps us to surrender, without complaint, to all the words and actions of others which cause us pain. Rarely a day passes that we do not have the opportunity to practice patience. Our life is a vale of tears. Troubles of every kind surround us: both temporal and spiritual troubles; troubles unmerited and some suffered through our own fault.
Yet, every trouble is sent in mercy, and is intended by our Father in Heaven to help us on our road Home. Each one is a means of probation – a test to show if we are truly children of God. If we accept them with patience, we shall be saved. If we rebel against them and refuse to submit to them, then they are real evils and misfortunes to us. Everything depends on our goodwill.
O MY GOD, we ought to thank Thee that this life is so short and Eternity so long!
Our patience is tried by everything that puts an obstacle in the way of our action. Those who look upon the world, without taking into account the nature of their sin, the meaning of their true state of probation, and the rewards and punishments of the life to come, will be puzzled by suffering.
Why has so merciful a God permitted the innocent to suffer? Why is it that the most spiritual of souls are often times those who have the hardest lot and bitterest trials? Friendship with God entails suffering. Am I inclined to find fault with God's arrangement? O how foolish!!! Do you think God has repaid good with evil by sending suffering to those who love Him? They themselves do not judge it so. They rather like sufferings. But, how can this be? Suffering is not pleasant, but in its effects, it is marvelous! Suffering has a powerful ability to counteract evil! It is a mark of God's favor! It is a promise for an eternity of blessings! It may be said to contain within itself all sweetness. This must be my view of suffering.
In the beginning, there was no suffering. When the fallen angels and then, mankind rebelled against God, suffering made its appearance. Suffering is necessary to expiate the outrages offered to the majesty of God by His creatures. It is the fulfillment of the eternal law that he who sins must suffer. Suffering is the complement and effect of sin. It is the carrying out of the law of retribution. The sufferings that we undergo are a just punishment for our sins. But suffering is a great deal more!
It is the remedy of disease, the kindly knife that hurts but cures. Suffering makes the proud, humble and submissive. Before being afflicted with suffering, many violate the Word of God, after suffering, they keep His Word! Suffering purifies the soul and is a payment for the joy that will be ours throughout eternity. We can earn more graces for ourselves and for others by the patient endurance of suffering than by the most active zeal or severe penances. It is a safe and sure means of glorifying God, for we cannot be proud of our sufferings as we are of our actions. Suffering is the most precious gift God has to offer us.
Let us not deceive ourselves with regard to genuine union with God! Souls who think they have reached the peak of spirituality through sensible consolations, holy pilgrimages and long novenas, or severe fasts, are like children playing with ashes that the wind carries away. NO, no! True union with God does not consist in delights, but in privations!
The sign that God dwells in us and that we are possessed by His Love, is that we take what hurts, not only patiently, but that we reach out and embrace it whole-heartedly!
My God, may Thy Cross be my cross;
Grant that I may have the courage and strength
Now and forever faithful let me be,