He that loves Jesus Christ loves sufferings —St Alphonsus

THIS earth is the place for meriting, and therefore it is a place for suffering. Our true country, where God has prepared for us repose in everlasting joy, is Paradise. We have but a short time to stay in this world; but in this short time we have many labors to undergo: “Man born of a woman, living for a short time, is filled with many miseries.” 1 We must suffer, and all must suffer; be they just, or be they sinners, each one must carry his cross. He that carries it with patience is saved; he that carries it with impatience is lost. St. Augustine says, the same miseries send some to Paradise and some to Hell: "One and the same blow lifts the good to glory, and reduces the bad to ashes." 2 The same Saint observes, that by the test of suffering the chaff in the Church of God is distinguished from the wheat: he that humbles himself under tribulation, and is resigned to the will of God, is wheat for Paradise; he that grows haughty and is enraged, and so forsakes God, is chaff for Hell.

On the day when the cause of our salvation shall be decided, our life must be found conformable to the

life of Jesus Christ, if we would enjoy the happy sentence of the predestined: “For whom He foreknew He also predestinated to be made conformable to the image of His Son.”  This was the end for which the Eternal Word descended upon earth, to teach us, by His example, to carry with patience the cross which God sends us: “Christ suffered for us (wrote St. Peter), leaving you an example, that you should follow His steps.”  So that Jesus Christ suffered on purpose to encourage us to suffer. O God! what a life was that of Jesus Christ! A life of ignominy and pain. The Prophet calls our Redeemer despised, and the most abject of men, a titan of sorrows.  A man held in contempt, and treated as the lowest, the vilest among men, a man of sorrows; yes, for the life of Jesus Christ was made up of hardships and afflictions.

Now, in the same manner as God has treated His beloved Son, so does He treat everyone whom He loves, and whom He receives for His Son: “For whom the Lord loveth He chastiseth . . . and He scourgeth every son whom He receiveth.” 6 For this reason He one day said to St. Teresa: "Know that the souls dearest to My Father are those who are afflicted with the greatest sufferings." 7 Hence the Saint said of all her troubles, that she would not exchange them for all the treasures in the world. She appeared after her death to a soul, and revealed to her that she enjoyed an immense reward in Heaven, not so much for her good works, as for the sufferings which she cheerfully bore in this life for the love of God; and that if she could possibly entertain a wish to return upon earth, the only reason would be in order that she might suffer more for God.


He that loves God in suffering earns a double reward in Paradise. St. Vincent of Paul 8 said that it was a great misfortune to be free from suffering in this life. And he added, that a congregation or an individual that does not suffer, and is applauded by all the world, is not far from a fall. It was on this account that St. Francis of Assisi, on the day that he had suffered nothing for God, became afraid lest God had forgotten him. St. John Chrysostom 9 says, that when God endows a man with the grace of suffering, He gives him a greater grace than that of raising the dead to life; because in performing miracles man remains God's debtor; whereas in suffering. God makes Himself the debtor of man. And he adds, 10 that whoever endures something for God, even had he no other gift than the strength to suffer for the God Whom he loves, this would procure for him an immense reward. Wherefore he affirmed, that he considered St. Paul to have received a greater grace in being bound in chains for Jesus Christ, than in being rapt to the third heaven in ecstasy.

“But patience has a perfect work.”  The meaning of this is, that nothing is more pleasing to God than to see a soul suffering with patience all the crosses sent her by him. The effect of love is to liken the lover to the person loved. St. Francis de Sales said, "All the wounds of Christ are so many mouths, which preach to us that we must suffer for Him. The science of the Saints is to suffer constantly for Jesus; and in this way we shall soon become Saints." A person that loves Jesus Christ is anxious to be treated like Jesus Christ,-----poor, persecuted, and despised. St. John beheld all the Saints clothed in white, and with palms in their hands: “Clothed with white robes, and palms in their hands.”  The palm is the symbol of Martyrs, and yet all the Saints did not suffer Martyrdom;-----why, then, do all the Saints bear palms in their hands? St. Gregory replies, that all the Saints have been Martyrs either of the sword or of patience; so that, he adds, "we can be martyrs without the sword, if we keep patience." 

The merit of a soul that loves Jesus Christ consists in loving and in suffering. Hear what our Lord said to St. Teresa: "Think you, my child, that merit consists in enjoyment? No, it consists in suffering and in loving. Look at My life, wholly embittered with afflictions. Be assured, my child, that the more My Father loves any one, the more sufferings He sends him; they are the standard of his love. Look at My wounds; your torments will never reach so far. It is absurd to suppose that My Father favors with His friendship those who are strangers to suffering."  And for our consolation St. Teresa makes this remark: "God never sends a trial, but he forthwith rewards it with some favor."  One day Jesus Christ appeared to the Blessed Baptista Varani,  and told her of three special favors which he is wont to bestow on cherished souls: the first is, not to sin; the second, which is greater, to perform good works; the third, and the greatest of all, to suffer for His love. 

So that St. Teresa  used to say, whenever anyone does something for God, the Almighty repays him with some trial. And therefore the Saints, on receiving tribulations, thanked God for them. St. Louis of France, referring to his captivity in Turkey, said: "I rejoice, and thank God more for the patience which he accorded me in the time of my imprisonment, than if he had made me master of the universe." And when St. Elizabeth, princess of Thuringia, after her husband's death, was banished with-----her son from the kingdom, and found herself homeless and abandoned by all, she went to a convent of the Franciscans, and there had the Te Deum sung in thanksgiving to God for the signal favor of being allowed to suffer for his love. St. Joseph Calasanctius used to say, "All suffering is slight to gain Heaven." And the Apostle had already said the same: “The sufferings of this time are not worthy to be compared with the glory to come, that shall be revealed in us.”