A Year with the Saints – 30 April


When it is our lot to suffer pain, trials, or ill-treatment, let us turn our eyes upon what Our Lord suffered, which will instantly render our sufferings sweet and supportable. However sharp our griefs may be they will seem but flowers in comparison with His thorns. – Saint Francis de Sales

Count Elzearius received many insults even from his own subjects, and bore them all with great tranquillity. Being asked by his wife how he was able to do this, he answered: “When I receive insults from anyone, I turn my thoughts to the great affronts which the Son of God suffered from His creatures, and say to myself, ‘Even if they were to pull your beard and strike you, what would this be in comparison with what your Lord suffered with so much patience?’ But I can tell you, besides, that I sometimes feel in such cases no slight emotions of anger. Then I quickly turn my mind to some similar injury suffered by Our Lord, and keep it fixed upon that, until the emotion has subsided.”

A good woman being once confined to her bed and suffering from many ailments, a friend of hers put a crucifix into her hand, inviting her to pray for relief from such great trials. But she said: “Would you have me seek to descend from the cross, when I hold in my hands a crucifix? God keeps me from it! I will rather suffer for Him, who most willingly underwent for me pains incomparably greater than mine.”

When Saint Teresa was in great suffering, the Lord appeared to her, showing her His wounds and saying: “Behold, My daughter, the sharpness of My torments, and consider whether thine can be compared to Mine.” The Saint was so greatly moved by this that she no longer felt the pain, and would often say afterwards: “When I think in how many ways the Lord suffered, and that for no fault of His own, I do not know of what I was thinking when I complained of my sufferings and tried to escape from them.”

A servant of God, being much afflicted by the grievous persecutions, calumny and contempt that he experienced, turned to the Lord and said: “How long, O Lord! must I be so tried, without any fault of mine, as Thou knowest?”

Then the Lord appeared to him, showing His wounds, and answering: “And for what fault had I to be treated thus?”

At this sight he was so much moved, and filled with such great joy, that he did not feel his afflictions at all, and said that he would not have exchanged his condition for that of any monarch on earth.

For thirty-eight years Saint Lidwina suffered constantly all kinds of infirmities – gout in her feet and hands, toothache, fevers, and whatever is most painful – and yet she always remained cheerful and happy, because she kept the sufferings of Christ continually in view.

Dionysius the Carthusian tells of a certain novice who became tepid in the divine service. While in the beginning all went easily with him, he afterwards found great difficulty in performing humble offices and in all the exercises of mortification, and, among other things, he felt especial disgust for a miserable habit such as novices were expected to wear. Now, one night Jesus Christ appeared to him in his sleep, with a long and heavy cross on His shoulders, which with His utmost efforts He was dragging up a staircase. Moved with compassion, he offered to help Him. But the Lord, turning upon him a severe look, said: “How do you presume to carry so heavy a cross – you, who cannot bear for love of Me a habit that weighs so little?” The novice, awakened by this reproach, was at once humiliated and aroused, so that, henceforward he wore the habit with great joy and content; and whenever any trial came in his way, at the mere thought of the great sufferings which Christ bore, everything seemed to him easy and pleasant.

MLA Citation